Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For Marketers, What Recession?

News reports about the "R word" have certainly abounded since the beginning of this year. Articles and blog posts written to help marketers adapt and shift tactics in light of the economic slowdown have also proliferated, with Recession: The best thing for SEO from Brian R. Brown , Building Brands In A Recession by Cory Treffiletti, Marketing Tactics in a Recession from the Marketing Safari blog, and, more recently, A low-cost plan to elevate your brand by Alan Ruthazer as just a few examples.

Problem is—and I hate to say this for fear events could somehow suddenly prove me horribly wrong—there doesn't appear to be any recession, at least certainly not from an online marketing standpoint. Sure, it's a difficult time if you're in the business of building new homes and a very tough period for anyone with "mortgage" anywhere in their corporate description, but the damage seems relatively contained.

Statistically, of course, the U.S. isn't actually in a recession. The 0.6% GDP growth reported in the first quarter was pathetically anemic, but it was growth nonetheless.

Another interesting data to point to follow is the Career Classifieds from MarketingSherpa. MS publishes postings from both employers and job seekers. This is how the number of new open positions relative to the number of job searchers has looked over the last nine weeks:

If marketing were really in a recession, one would expect the blue line in the graph above to be plunging while the purple line shoots skyward—which is exactly what happened back in 2000. That clearly isn't happening today.

Okay, so it's only one indicator and time may yet prove me wrong, but marketers are often the first people to get pink slips when the economy heads south. The fact that that doesn't seem to be happening right now is news to be celebrated. And perhaps we'll start seeing articles and blog posts with titles like "How to Market During an Almost but Not Quite Recession."



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