Sir Martin feels the LUV

As an advertising veteran, Sir Martin Sorrell’s opinions on marketing in a recession should be noted and WPP’s third quarter results presented an opportunity for him to present a few choice insights.

Russell Parsons

Putting aside the alphabetti spaghetti explanations of the trajectory of economic recovery (from talk of an italicised L shaped recovery in the summer to discussion of a LUV-shaped world economic recovery last week, click here to learn more) Sir Martin had a few insights worth noting about keeping your nerve while many around are losing their’s.

The experienced campaigner had this sage advice: “Companies that invest in brands during recessions, emerge with higher sales trajectories, profits and profit margins in better times.”

Of course, as the chief executive of a marketing services company that relies upon client investment, he would say that, but that should not dilute the veracity of his observation.

As a man who has seen a downturn or two, marketers should take heed of Sir Martin’s words, and protect their budgets from prying eyes.

WPP’s second quarter results could indicate that direct marketers are holding their ground a little better than some of their counterparts elsewhere in the communications industry.

On a like-for-like basis, specialist communications – which includes direct, internet and interactive businesses – were “least affected” by the lingering recessionary pressures, down 5.2% on a like for like basis compared with last year ,while their above-the-line stable mates stumbled 9.8%.

Does this indicate that direct marketing is being viewed more favourably during the downturn?

When used cannily, DM, based on sound data is a cost-effective way of reaching existing customers. It is also accountable, if targeted, useful when every penny is under scrutiny.

And a means to do as Sir Martin advises, now if we could only find a solution to the postal dispute.

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