Study: Fortune 500 play defense during downturn

A refined approach

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Some shrewd b-to-b marketers are refining, not reducing, advertising—a strategy that their counterparts would do well to follow, said John Davis, CEO of Sacramento, Calif.-based marketing firm Brand New View Inc. He pointed to Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.—among the biggest financial marketers, with a multibillion-dollar financial adviser business—as showing excellent marketing discipline. Schwab is currently running ads addressing investing amid a sour market.

While more than a third of the executives surveyed said they would cut jobs during a slowdown, Zook said that tactic can be short-sighted. It can also damage corporate loyalty, he said.

"For strong companies to take this opportunity to do a very moderate amount of cost management is fine," he said. "But the great companies behave the same in downturns as in upturns, and through that they build great employee loyalty."

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