Earlier this week the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake said that the recession is "very likely over" based in part on consumers returning slowly to stores. Though that news is tempered by continued high unemployment, and the expectation that any return to growth will be moderate, it provides a little glimmer of hope that we could all use.
New marketing campaigns opening this week provided a second bit of optimism for the industry. Toyota, for example, is preparing a $1 billion marketing push to revitalize US sales, a “larger than average” spend for Q4. On Tuesday, Siemens, too, opened what it is calling its largest US marketing effort to date, targeting consumers and business decision- makers. And later in the week, Chase Card Services unrolled a new service for consumers after working for months to get other stakeholders on board with the new offering.
As Toyota's group VP for public affairs, Irv Miller, told the Wall Steet Journal, "You can't play defense forever. It's time to play offense." Indeed.
As the marketing sector as a whole begins to rebound, PR pros on both the in-house and agency side, will counsel their executives and clients on how to navigate this environment into 2010. Those who understand now is the time to grab market share will fuel this trend.
The busy fall product launch season ahead will further bolster spend, standing in considerable contrast to the first six months of the year, when, spending on advertising, for example, plummeted more than 14%, according to TNS.
While PR fared better in the recession than other marketing disciplines, a recovery ignites a new level of competition among these disciplines and requires that PR make a stronger push to return to previous levels of spending.Going forward, the PR industry will have to step up and truly fight for a piece of the marketing pie, particularly against advertising and other firms eager to find new frontiers to replace their permanently damaged revenue streams.