|MARKETING IN A RECESSION|
Ad Age explores what marketers, media and agencies are doing to survive and even thrive in the downturn.
Agencies need to stop treating social media and other new technologies as add-ons if they wish to remain relevant -- and in business. "Most agencies are adding 21st-century tools but still using a mid-20th century marketing model. Building a modern brand requires a whole new model."
"If you're a big brand, and you have the cash, now is the time to double down, keep your spending up, and try to grab market share so you come out of things on top. If you're like the rest of us, with limited money, I think the key is to adopt a war-room mentality, keep your eye on the prize each month or quarter out, and start becoming iterative, nimble and reactionary to the changing climate. Look at the environment, look at your results, make a new short-term plan, execute, measure, wash, rinse, repeat. It sucks, but it'll keep you from being locked in to big choices that you might regret if things change again in six months."
Engagement strategies need to evolve. How people go about their life routines clearly changes as their livelihoods change. How they want to engage in a brand conversation is as important to reassess as what the brand now has to say. My guess is that closer proximity and intimacy/personal marketing will become increasingly important as people feel increasingly disassociated from other social structures and start to gravitate towards the comfortable and familiar."
"Think about earning and owning your media in addition to buying it. Earned media is media you don't buy but earn the hard way. PR is an example of earned media. Word-of-mouth is another. There are still a lot of marketers out there buying their media when they could earn it, and earning it a lot less expensively on earned media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The total amount of money flowing out of marketers' pockets to agencies won't decline and will likely go up, but the mix is headed for important changes."
Union Square Ventures partner
"First and foremost, one has got to remember that no matter how hard the struggle is today, recessions do end. This one will too. So if you burn the furniture today, you will not have anything to sit on when the business cycle swings upward. One of the most important steps an organization can take now, be it agency or client, is to figure out what needs to be in place for you to be first out of the gate when money starts to flow again and then set a process in motion that will ensure you get there. I think that is a point that is so easily missed. Have a plan in place for better times. They will return, eventually."
Ogilvy's Washington office
"For better or worse, Washington is now -- at least in the short run -- the new center of gravity for the U.S. economy. Decisions that are made in D.C. over the next 12 to 24 months will have a dramatic impact on the long-term shape of our economy. Instead of running away from Washington, the smartest companies are embracing the town -- demonstrating to policy makers that they want to be part of the solution and play a role in our nation's economic growth. The Washington political set is looking to support companies that can create jobs and opportunities for the American people. In short, it's time for companies to reach out a cooperative hand, not clench their fists, when it comes to the Beltway."
"Continue to consider all options in the marketing mix and if you can't outspend, outsmart your competitors. Be efficient by ensuring that all communications are in line with your audience so that there is strategic consistency across how you are marketing online, in-person and in traditional media. Be far more proactive in how you demonstrate and deliver value but also focus on values. ... Corporate and brand reputations, especially in times of high anxiety, can be the key differentiator for all of your stakeholders. While much of the marketing and communications focus is on lower cost, it's a higher impact strategy and innovation that can often make the difference. This will help position your business to benefit from the growth that typically follows recessionary periods."