04/26/09

Does Advertising During a Recession Really Pay Off?

Most savvy business owners and managers know that the best marketing strategy during a recession is to advertise as aggressively as possible. But, just in case you need some reinforcement to support that truism, consider the following information.
The first study conducted to measure the effectiveness of marketing during a recession was conducted by Rolland Vaile during the recession of 1923. He later published his report in the Harvard Business Review. It showed the biggest sales increases throughout the period during and following the recession were rung up by the companies that advertised the most.
The next studies were done during the recessions of 1949 and 1954. Again, results showed that companies that advertised had the most sales. But more importantly, it showed the companies that did not advertise not only lost sales during the recession, but continued to lag behind after the recession.
More studies were done during the recessions of 1958 and 1961 with the same results. But, this time they also measured profits. In every case, companies who quit or cut back advertising lost market share and lagged behind those who maintained their budgets.
Another study was done during the recession of 1970 with the same result. Then McGraw Hill conducted a study during the recession of 1981 and 1982 with the same result. Then David Ogilvy’s agency Group Center for R&D did one during the 1990 recession. You guessed it: the same result.
That’s ten separate studies over an eighty year period and every one of them returned the same result.
This is the time to be aggressive with your marketing. This is not to say you should be foolish with your budget and spend more than you can afford. But, don’t do what so many business people do, which is to take the fastest and easiest route to cutting overhead by slashing their marketing budget while hanging onto other expenses that could be trimmed.