Keep marketing in a recession? You’d be nuts not to.

We were faced with an interesting question recently from a client:  should they put their PR on hold while they undergo a branding overhaul.

While it’s always optimal to have a clear branding message before beginning a PR effort, we don’t live in a perfect world. 

And boy is our world less than perfect right now.  Which is why I told the client that I thought the worst thing they could do right now was to pull back on their PR—or any marketing.  And the studies back me up.

Penn State's Smeal College of Business completed a study in 2005 showing that well-positioned companies should aggressively increase marketing spending to achieve superior business performance during a recession.

McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 BtoB companies in 16 different industries during a study of U.S. recessions.  The results showed that firms that maintained or increased their ad expenditures during the 1981-1982 recession averaged significantly higher sales growth both during the recession and for the following three years than those companies that eliminated or decreased their advertising.  By 1985, sales by companies that advertised aggressively during the recession rose 256 percent over those that didn't maintain their advertising spending.

The lesson is clear: investing in marketing activities during a recession is an investment in the boom period that will follow.

Let me know what you think.

–Mara Conklin

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