Marketing in uncertain times

In times of economic uncertainty, marketers tend to shift their focus from long-term strategy to short-term sales. However, lessons from recent recessions provide powerful arguments for maintaining a longer-term view, even in the face of pressure to cut advertising in favor of promotions. Marketers who resist this pressure and use their budgets effectively and creatively will find that their brands emerge from the tough times in good competitive shape.

While most parts of the world have been officially out of recession since the summer of 2009, the economic recovery in most Western countries has not been strong. The current uncertainty about the economic climate, especially the speculation that we may experience a double-dip recession, is making both consumers and marketers nervous.

During the 2008 downturn, there were regular reports of consumers struggling with their finances. For example, two-thirds of Australians reported that their spending habits were affected by the financial climate, with four in ten reporting that they spent less on staples. (And technically, Australia was not even in recession.) In the United States, spending on credit cards increased markedly in areas of high unemployment, and fewer consumers reported paying their credit card bills in full every month.