Part of living and working in a boom/bust economy is the inevitable and temporary downturn.  Sadly, one of the first things to go in these leaner times is marketing budgets.  Companies that do so, however, are missing unique opportunities presented in times of economic uncertainty.  By thinking long term, careful investment in marketing will ultimately assist your company bounce back as the economy improves. Consumers do not stop spending all together when the economy shifts, they just spend differently.

The reason your company can benefit from a careful investment in marketing is the same reason your competitors can miss out: the idea that marketing is an expense, not an investment.  As your competitors reduce or cut their marketing budgets completely, your company has the ability to stand out by maintaining or increasing current marketing.  Continuing your marketing while your competitors do not allows your business to stand out from the competition and weakens the image of the competitors. In addition to this, the competition for advertising space is significantly lowered, allowing you to stretch your marketing budgets further.

Patrick Barwise, of the London Business School, published an extensive review of evidence that agrees that businesses can ultimately benefit from intelligent investment in slow or downturn economies. His three positive strategies for marketing in a down economy are:

  1. Find new, creative, or targeted marketing opportunities: Slower markets offer greater opportunities to focus on different segments or benefits.
  2. Differentiate from your competition: Use this time as an opportunity to stress your position in comparison to your weaker rivals
  3. Maintain your marketing investment: Diminishing your investment will only allow your competition to strengthen their position.