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Why Downturns Create Upsides for Creativity


According to the latest survey from Reardon Smith Whittaker (RSW), the economy has had a negative effect on the business of 87 percent of U.S. advertising and PR agencies -- and 91 percent of their clients.

Could this actually be a good thing for Digital Marketing professionals?

In the first half of 2009, 55 percent of clients had spending decreases of 6 percent or more. In addition, 35 percent expect to see marketing spending fall by 6 percent or more in the second half of the year.

Fifty percent of agency clients spent more on e-mail marketing than the previous year. Almost one-third of clients increased their commitment to search engine optimization (SEO), while 56 percent and 28 percent did the same for social media and online display, respectively.

"If you don't have a good grasp of new media, you had better get on it," recommended RSW analysts in their report of the apparent survey results.

Creative talent and business savvy is in demand, regardless of the current economy. The main reasons clients left agencies were lack of fresh ideas (73 percent) and the need to cut costs (44 percent).

I believe that the pressure to cut marketing budgets is always a wonderful thing -- because it creates opportunity for people truly skilled in doing more with less.

Big traditional advertising budgets, applied by inept executive leadership and habitually lazy marketing staff -- that are incapable of customer experience design experimentation -- are a proven recipe for a prolonged competitive disadvantage.

The minority of marketers that dare to move beyond their current comfort zone will do more than merely survive the downturn, they will thrive in the eventual upturn.

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