Summarizing some of the established benefits of marketing in a recession, James Surowiecki asks in a recent New Yorker column why the knee-jerk reaction is to cut spending, given that “the benefits from recession investment are often surprisingly long-lived.” He finds an answer in economist Frank Knight’s distinction between risk (“a situation where you have a sense of the range and likelihood of possible outcomes”) and uncertainty (“a situation where it’s not even clear what might happen, let alone how likely the possible outcomes are”). Since a recession is characterized by rampant uncertainty, marketers naturally try to control what they can by slashing costs in a bid to shore up short-term results. And while opportunities abound as the status quo gets shaken up, it’s also true that recessions have humbled many a risk-taker.
For our own report on historical thinking about why marketers should continue to spend during down times—an audit of material published by ad organizations, research organizations, marketers, journalists and consultants.
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