In a recent Fortune article ("A View form the Top," Fortune, March 16, 2009), Muktar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola said, "Don’t waste this crisis. Be thoughtful about your expenditures and be sure to focus only on what delivers value." This could be a mantra for all marketing executives during the current economic downturn: take advantage of the opportunity that the economy is providing, maintain your strategy, and lay the foundation for coming out of the recession stronger than you went in.
During an economic malaise like the one in which we are now mired, a strong, stable strategy confers immense benefits, both economic and psychological. Companies that alter their strategy must usually change their organizational structure, and making changes in a recession imposes a cost burden exactly at the time companies can least afford it. Also, when everything else is in flux, a strategy that is constant keeps employees focused on moving forward.
Use the current economy as an opportunity for rapid expansion, a chance to take market share from your weaker competitors. Do not cut marketing. The airwaves are now clearer, so you can better communicate your brand message to your customers and continue to ensure that your brands stay healthy. By forging ahead with your strategy and focusing on value, you can exit the tunnel with more market share than you went in.