It’s been documented that when things start to go South for businesses, the first thing to get cut is usually the marketing budget. In tough economic times, businesses are looking to streamline processes and cut spending on anything they believe is not directly contributing to their bottom line. Historically, marketing’s contribution to that bottom line has been hazy at best, placing it toward the top of the list for the chopping block.

The current economic crisis has been no different. As more and more businesses struggle to just break even, traditional marketing methods are being viewed as an added cost or luxury item, rather than a business necessity. According to a recent survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, 53% of respondents expected to reduce their advertising budgets due the current economic climate, while 87% are trying to identify cost-saving alternatives to their current marketing efforts. In another study conducted by The CMO Club, advertising and mass marketing strategies were most frequently cited as the budget line items to be cut first.

So, is there a silver lining anywhere in these times of economic downturn and slashed marketing budgets? For SEO companies and search marketers, the answer is "Yes"! According to the same study done by The CMO Club,

Online strategies, such as search engine optimization and online marketing campaigns, were cited as the least likely to be cut, followed by public relations campaigns."

This is largely due to the fact that online marketing strategies generally generate a higher ROI than traditional marketing methods. Also, the ROI of a Pay-Per-Click campaign, for example, is much easier to track than that of a print advertisment or billboard. As a result, the online marketing and SEO industry has been relatively unaffected by the current economic crisis, and has even increased in some cases. In their recent Bellwether report, the Institute of Practictioners in Advertising (IPA) stated:

Hardest hit were budgets for main media advertising and ‘all other’ (includes PR, events sponsorship and market research). All marketing categories saw downward revisions with the exception of the internet, but even this category saw budget expenditure for the year held steady. Internet search was the only category to see an increase yet the rise was only marginal."

Here at Best Rank, the current economic climate seems to be having a positive effect. In the past few months, we have recieved an influx of unsolicited leads and have seen our company grow significantly. As a recent article on NewBusiness.co.uk shows, "Research also revealed that updating their own website, search engine optimisation and direct mail were seen as the most effective marketing methods when budgets are tight, with traditional advertising in the media, updating company brochures and spending money on exhibitions perceived as the least effective."

It makes sense that in tough economic times, businesses would turn to more cost-effective ways of getting noticed. What we are seeing with the current economic crisis is the search marketing industry being recognized as a viable and effective marketing option, and on par with (or even better than) traditional marketing methods.

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