Maintain Those Marketing Budgets

Invest in your brands now, especially in these dry times. The easiest thing is to shut down, and that’s the worst thing.

“There has never been a more crystal-clear realization of why you need a strong brand.

It would be a mistake to say you don’t need to continue to tend your brand, even in a challenging market like this.

Let’s all go for growth. Let’s see this as an opportunity.

These were the messages emerging loud and clear from the 98th annual meeting of the Association of National Advertisers.

In an article appearing in the New York Times, Resolved to Keep on Marketing, Even in Tight-Fisted Times, the recurring theme of the conference was to stay positive in the face of industry difficulties.

The attitudes of the 400 members of this association, who together spend an estimated $100 billion a year on advertising and other forms of marketing, will likely have a huge bearing on the direction the marketplace takes in the coming months.

Marketers cutting budgets could intensify the recent sharp downturn in consumer spending, whereas maintaining or even increasing spending levels could help to shorten any recession.

The appeals of many of the conference’s speakers may have borne some influence on the 1,000+ attendees.  In surveys taken on the day, around one-third of attendees questioned claimed that in the immediate term they would maintain their current level of marketing spending, with a further third stating they would reduce spend.  Twenty-seven percent said they would spend more, with the remaining 7 percent unsure.

Similarly, when asked about 2009 compared to 2008, 28 percent predicted stability, and more than a quarter foresaw spending increases of more than 10 percent. Nineteen percent predicted decreases of more than 10 percent, 14 percent predicted decreases of less than 10 percent, and 13 percent predicted growth of less than 10 percent.

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