by Adam Ortman, SVP Growth & Innovation, Generator Media + Analytics



The recession of 2009 was a wake-up call for many businesses. Unfortunately, it came at a time when many companies were already struggling. It wasn’t just small businesses that had trouble—even big corporations felt the pain of layoffs and budget cuts as they struggled to stay afloat. But even during these difficult times, brands can still thrive if they learn how to survive in a harsh economic climate. At its core, marketing is about serving customers and meeting their needs through products or services that solve their problems or fulfill their desires. Today’s consumers are more discerning than ever before; they’re no longer reading your ads or watching your commercials without question. To succeed today requires careful planning, smart strategy and innovation—and lots of testing!



Plan with purpose


You should plan with purpose.


Before you launch into business-changing media campaigns, it’s important to define the problem and set goals. What do you want to accomplish? What needs do your customers have that can be solved by advertising? What’s the biggest challenge for your brand right now? How does this campaign address those challenges and help solve those problems?


Do not worry about what other people think is important or how they are going about solving their problems. Your goals should be ambitious but also realistic—and they must be yours! You know what matters most to your business; don’t let someone else tell you otherwise.


For relatability, here are some examples of tangible fitness goals you could achieve in 3-6 months:


  1. Run a 5K race without stopping (or walk if running isn’t an option)
  2. Bike 10 miles without stopping (or 10 minutes nonstop on a stationary bike)
  3. Lift 100 pounds over head




Be honest about the brand’s situation


As you begin to plan your media campaigns, it’s critical that you’re honest about the brand’s situation. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What are its goals and objectives? Who is the target audience? How does this compare to your competition? It’s also important to understand what kinds of media options are available to a company like yours.



Think short term AND long term


The next six months are the short term. It’s important to think about how you can keep up with demand in that time frame. In five years, what will your customers want? If you can plan for that time period, then you’ll be able to make sure your business is still viable and profitable as times change around you.


In another ten years, who knows? Maybe everything has changed again! You may have to rethink some of your strategies or even start from scratch once more—but thinking about the long term can help keep your business on track regardless of where we’re at in our lives as a society or technologically speaking.



Involve your agency in key business conversations


Agencies often act as an extension of a brand’s internal marketing teams, that is one characteristic that clients love about Generator Media + Analytics. It is with this purview and transparency that real positive impact can occur. Advice on how best to leverage a strong partner agency:


  1. Involve your agency in key business conversations.
  2. Keep your agency informed of any changes to the business.
  3. Invite your agency to meetings you have with other departments or stakeholders where it might be helpful for them to be present.




Never stop testing


  1. Testing is great: Keep testing your campaigns, and don’t stop. Don’t ever stop testing. If you’re not testing, then you can’t learn anything new about what works and what doesn’t.
  2. You’ll learn something: Every time you test a campaign or an ad, even if it seems like the same thing as before (same audience, same brand message) there will be some small difference in execution that makes all the difference in the world.
  3. You might learn something important: The best part about testing out new ideas is that sometimes they work really well—which means you’ve found a way to reach more people with your messages and help them better understand who you are as a brand!




Even in uncertain times, brands can still be successful.


As an agency, we believe that no matter what the economic climate is like, brands should always plan for the future. If you don’t know where your brand will be in five years’ time or even tomorrow morning, how can you expect to build success? It’s important to stay focused on long-term goals while also looking at short-term objectives and testing the things that work well against those that don’t. That way, if something doesn’t work as well as expected or planned for (and this happens often), we can scrap it before it becomes too costly from both a financial standpoint and from a negative impact on your company’s reputation.




We can’t predict the future, but we do know that the best way for brands to succeed in uncertain times is to keep their heads up and plan for success. Even if you have no idea what will happen a year from now, it’s important to have a strategy that covers multiple scenarios so your brand doesn’t go under just because of one bad quarter or unexpected event.