When it comes to the economy the old saying of “it will get worse before it gets better” applies at every level. With people still losing their jobs and companies still going out of business it looks like we are still looking at a long recession and then an even longer recovery back to financial prosperity. In a time of deep recession many of the suppliers of luxury items such as expensive cars, yachts, and high priced restaurants are usually the first to feel the pinch and many of these organizations find themselves tightening their belts or going out of business.
However there are some businesses that can always expect to have a certain level of business in any economy and can expect to be as close to recession proof as possible. Grocery stores are considered recession proof because people always need food. Another business that should be recession proof is advertising. Advertising is how businesses stay in business and a good advertising firm, with a proactive attitude, should be able to find ways to not only stay in business but prosper in bad economic times.
As an advertising executive you can look at a bad economy in two ways. You can look at a bad economy as a time when customers are slashing their advertising budgets and you may find yourself bringing in less revenue that you did in the previous year. Your other option is to look at a bad economy as an opportunity to grow your client base and grow your business. It is true that advertising budgets are being slashed nearly across the board but that just means that you have to work a bit harder and take on more clients.
Then when the economy turns around you suddenly have a large roster of clients with more advertising money and your revenue skyrockets up. But to get there you have to gather in those extra clients first and to do that will require something advertising executives are known for, ingenuity.
The first step to take on the rocky road of advertising in a bad economy is to remember that your service is essential to the future of your clients. Very few companies have experienced great success without some sort of organized advertising effort and the companies that do invest in advertising are the ones that are usually reaping the rewards.
A bad economy may be a time to start negotiating different rates for your services but it is essential to remember that bad economies recover and if you negotiate long term new rates in a bad economy then you may be forced to accept those lower rates when the economy recovers and that will hinder your attempt to increase your revenue in a good economy.
Try and find ways to help your clients spend their money on more focused advertising campaigns with less amenities rather than dropping your rates. If you can do a creative contract negotiation now then you will find it easier to add the amenities back in at full price when the economy turns back around and then your revenue goes up.
The next thing to remember is that everyone is feeling the bad economy. Now would be a good time to investigate those avenues and vehicles that you may have deemed too expensive in the past. Maybe the bus company has lowered the rates on their bus billboards and the cost is not so prohibitive which would allow you to try that type of advertising out.
Be creative and look into all of those things that you may have thought were good ideas in the past but your research indicated that they were cost prohibitive. Perhaps in a bad economy those particular advertising avenues have decided that partial advertising revenue is better than no revenue at all and you can start to gauge their effectiveness at a reduced rate.
Finally it is in your best interest to start being creative. The thing that will separate you from everyone else, and bring those extra clients to your firm, is that creative bit of advertising that you do for one particular client that others want to pay you to do for them. It could be something like a great television commercial that sparks a national reaction that brings that one client to the limelight. It could be a creative way of getting the message out beyond the traditional media outlets. It could be a way of making your client’s merchandise desirable and a big seller in department stores which creates a new wave of revenue for your client.
Being creative is what clients expect from an advertising firm and a bad economy is the best time to put that creativity to work and prepare to not shrink your firm but to grow your firm in the face of an economy on the downside. Creativity now means more clients and more revenue when the economy picks back up and that means a bigger advertising firm for you.