The recession of 2008/9 has had a significant impact on both digital and new media agencies and their clients over the intervening months and has significantly slowed marketing programmes since back in December 2008.
Since the end of 2008, the global economic collapse has seen clients slashing email marketing, multimedia and website development budgets, and marketing performance dropped significantly.
As Creative Director of a UK-based digital marketing agency, I have certainly seen a very mixed reaction from our global client base, with widely differing effects.
Essentially, two marketing strategies have prevailed: one logically follows the economy and cuts budgets, and the other – the minority – continues to roll out current marketing strategies and develop new digital marketing media as if no economic event was taking place.
This has meant we have maintained strong progress on a range of client digital marketing strategies such as email marketing, multimedia development as well as multimedia website applications, which, given their inherent measurability and accountability, have maintained strong marketing performance in particularly adverse market conditions.
But has this not been complete folly in declining markets? The answer here is no. And it is interesting to note the two main reasons as to why this is.
Firstly, as marketing activity slowed in specific market sectors, those brands and businesses who continued to roll out new digital marketing communications were creating high profile online activity without really trying to cut through any of the usual static in an uncharacteristically quiet marketplace (proportionately, even the rapidly growing digital marketing sector has seen a reduction in its exponential growth this year).
Indeed, those who rolled out above average online activity during this period seem to have increased their company/brand market profile considerably.
And that is because – given the general lack of business activity – there was a higher than usual target audience online and available to catch any new sector-specific marketing communications that emerged.
While the economic returns for this activity will not be available until end Q1, the activity itself and the increased exposure it generated for these companies/brands had to be worth it – if only as an investment in the future of their profile.
And it’s not over yet. I predict early 2010 will continue to be a quiet time for digital marketing activity. But as my mother used to say, fortune favours the brave.