To market, or not to market? That is the question.
Late last year, I talked to some staffing firms that do creative staffing, which includes marketing and design. Business was starting to slow down, which was expected.
The economy slows down, corporations are struggling to meet their numbers, layoffs happening everywhere all in all, not a very happy situation. So, when company management is putting together its 2009 budget, guess which area takes the biggest cut?
Yes, you got it. Marketing. Historically, marketing is the most flexible budget, it's discretionary, and is one of the first to get the axe.
Our research shows that staffing firms are thinking along the same lines as the rest of corporate America. Marketing spend for staffing firms contracted in the second and third quarter of 2008. You can read more about it on our Web site at INSIGHT - Some staffing firms cutting marketing spend. Some of the marketing suppliers we talked to are feeling the pinch.
But let's take a moment to think about this. Is it really such a good idea to cut down on marketing right now? Historically, the staffing industry has not been such a big user of marketing to get its name out or to build up an image. And on top of this, some in the industry are reducing their already small marketing budget down to nothing. That means no visibility in both direct marketing and in cyber space.
(Speaking of cyber space note to staffing firms: some of the staffing Web sites out there could use a serious upgrade this might be your highest bang-to-buck marketing spend.)
So what happens when the economy starts to turn around? It's bound to happen sooner or later (keeping my fingers and toes crossed for sooner rather than later). I would think a staffing firm that wants to be well-positioned for the end of the recession would be eager to put its name out so that both customers and candidates don't lose sight of it when they are ready to spend money or look to change jobs.