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How to meet the challenge of recession with your marketing

How to meet the challenge of recession with your marketing

Gill Hunt of Skillfair, the online marketplace for consultants and independent agencies, discusses how businesses can source highly skilled marketers and consulting professionals to help fill the gaps and carry on marketing, even through the tough times.

With all the talk of doom and gloom around the credit crunch and failing economy, marketing professionals and agencies are understandably getting nervous. Marketing departments are usually the first to go, or at least experience budget cuts and recruitment freezes in a tight economy. 

But arguably, now is the time for companies to invest in marketing in order to raise their profiles and separate themselves from the competition. 

Tightening budgets mean greater competition for companies and therefore a greater need for them to set themselves apart from the crowd.  So why are marketing budgets the first to get axed?

Often viewed as an expense rather than a revenue generator, organisations eager to keep the bottom line in the black tend to cut marketing budgets and jobs, leaving less people and less money to do an increasingly important task.

Companies such as Google and eBay have championed marketing during the good and the bad times – both successfully rising from the ashes of the bust into thriving brands.  

But you don’t have to be a multi-billion pound company to maintain a focus on marketing as your resources are squeezed.  A good marketing team doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Companies can hire highly skilled consultants to run, or provide support for, marketing campaigns on a temporary basis and still stay within the costs of a more restrictive budget – a strategy that makes sense regardless of the state of the economy. 

Many marketing heads may balk at the idea of hiring consultants to fill in gaps left by cost cutting and hiring freezes.  They worry consultants will either not have enough experience or will charge the earth in fees.

With the flexibility of remote working and a growing amount of project work, however, many highly experienced marketers are choosing to take the consultant route and work for themselves, focusing on short-term projects for a variety of clients. 

Since they are hired for a specific project, consultants can focus on the one task at hand and therefore deliver more value for money than an overworked employee or an untrained member of staff who may have been allocated to ‘the marketing department’ to support the team while the budgets and headcount are frozen.

Just because resources may be tight, it is still important to find the right set of skills for the job.  Organisations often find an experienced consultant may only need to work two days a week, rather than the four or five days that may be required from working with the wrong skill-set or an untrained marketer that happens to be a friend of the owner or, indeed, just close at hand.

It’s now easier than ever for companies to find consultants with the right level of experience, eliminating the need to make do with a temporary employee with the wrong skills.

There are websites that aggregate experienced workers from all different disciplines and make it quick and easy for employers to search for the skills they require, such as event management, web design, press release writing or media relations.

It narrows down what could be a monumental task into a manageable one and allows marketing departments to ‘carry on’ differentiating their organisations from their competition, whatever the economic climate.

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