Within the next six months, about 40% of U.S. marketers plan to fire their advertising agency and the situation in Europe isn’t predicted to be all that different – JUMP SCARE! This statistic comes from a very serious and legit survey taken in November 2022 by the agency-brand matchmaker SetUp, which talked to such brands as Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Warner Bros., UPS, Discovery, and Home Depot, to name a few.

Beyond this terrifying statistic lies yet another, arguably more worrying truth; the disparity between why agencies think they’ll be fired and brands are actually doing the firing. Agencies cite cuts in brand budgets and marketing leadership changes as the top two reasons for their future firing whereas brands admit that it is rather a lack of strategic approach; budget cuts lag down their list at number eight.

Understanding how to navigate this struggle as we enter 2023 seems more crucial now than ever. A recession puts marketers in fight-or-flight, reptile brain mode with flight representing budget cuts, creative hibernation, and barely keeping the lights on in terms of marketing spend and on the fight side, it can be a good time to swing for some home runs and overdeliver.

“Even in a recession when all budgets are reduced, it’s good to have some level of an efficient play, and some level of shooting for the brand connection and affinity stars” said Paul Venables of San Francisco-based independent agency Venables Bell & Partners to Fast Company. “It’s about winning people over, and making that effort. What I’ve heard over the years from clients is that when they add some level of that brand work, going for loyalty and affinity, it lifts their performance marketing considerably. So maybe the dials are reduced in a downturn, which is understandable, but still keeping both things in play and not rushing to cut these brand and efficiency plays, is important for clients.”

Over the past year and a half, streamers like Disney+, Netflix, and HBO Max have rolled out ad-supported tiers which, for client work, could act as a great tool for segmentation.

During a time like this, clients tend to focus more on senior talent because of the increase in project work they want high-quality thinking. The amount of job titles on a job is decreasing as clients’ patience gets smaller. With the big ton of staff approach, it takes six months to solve a problem because it has to go through all of those levels. Clients now want a senior SWAT team that will solve it quickly, then move on to the next headache. That’s serving us well for that reason. High-level work, done quickly. 

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