A recent survey by Place Marketing Group asked how economic development organizations (EDOs) were faring in the economic downturn.
The survey found that the economy has constrained economic development activity. 47% reported fewer prospects in the first half of 2009, 94% saw their funding decline or stay the same and 78% decreased or kept their marketing activity at the same levels.
Since most EDOs depend on the health of other organizations (businesses and governments) for their own financial well-being, it's no surprise that budgets would be under pressure in a recession. And when budgets are declining or stagnant, it's often the marketing resources that are first to hit the chopping block.
While some EDOs see little choice but to slash marketing spending, it is a step that risks a loss of future growth opportunities. Experts agree that those who maintain spending often emerge the strongest when things pick up. Cuts in marketing will show the most and help the least.
Not all marketers are cutting back however. 15% of survey respondents are increasing their marketing activity. Some tactics being used include a stronger focus on existing businesses; taking advantage of advertising bargains and lower cost marketing tools and using the time to tune up website and data sources.
By continuing your marketing effort during a downturn, you maintain awareness of your community's locational strengths and position it to capitalize on opportunities that will be waiting as we exit the recession.