Dealing with the downturn

The end-of-year pundits are united in their gloom: 2008 has been awful, but 2009 is going to be worse.

Given this prognosis, it’s only natural for marketers to bury their heads in Doctor Who specials and hope it all goes away, the consequences of declining sales, job insecurity and disappearing clients being all too close for festive comfort.

We can’t control what curve balls might come our way next year, but we can give ourselves a better chance of dealing with them by taking the initiative and getting onto the front foot.

For individuals, this means taking the time to build that LinkedIn profile, writing articles for the trade press and keeping your skills up to date – before you have to. Would you still get your job if you applied for it today?

Brand managers need to move first in assuring FDs and MDs that they’re all over contract terms, have uncovered low-cost routes to market and found smart headcount savings before the budget review email arrives. Get a reputation for being someone who is both a real customer champion and commercially sanguine.

Agencies must show clients they’re thinking about value before being asked. Volunteer new terms, recommend a move to payment-by-results and find new savings. It’s coming anyway, so present yourself as the good guys who ‘get it’ rather than being an overhead that’s long overdue for cutting.

Whatever your role, you can actively decide to give yourself the best chance in 2009. Good luck.