This could result in a drying pipeline of new accounts for agency practitioners, as marketing budgets almost always go first in a time of economic downturn. The temptation for practitioners is to look back at the dot-com burst or the economic fallout from 9/11, and envision future gloom, but there doesn't appear to be a need for immediate panic, according to some agency leaders.
At this time, agencies and professional communicators need to be assessing their value to their clients and bosses and find ways to diversify their offerings. If the economy is particularly bad, executives might want to stay out of the press, limiting the need for proactive media relations.
PR executives can also offer services that speak directly to the potential recession: crisis communications, internal communications for any potential staff cuts, and thought leadership. The more PR pros can demonstrate to the C-level decision-makers that their influence is necessary in times of economic uncertainty, the stronger chance the industry has of surviving budgetary cuts.
But if the US does enter into a recession, firms best prepared to survive a potential downturn are those that have not overextended themselves during the strong economic years. While some belt-tightening in 2008 may be necessary, keeping agency staff in the loop will help staunch panic if corporate marketing budgets are cut. Nothing expedites economic woes like uncertainty.