Today the big question is: Could a recession in 2008 cause a drop in online spending? I would normally get on my soap box and proclaim to the world that if your business is in a slump, try marketing online, try search engine optimization, or test the waters with PPC advertising or even a blog.
While I still want to be bullish on my industry, the fact of the matter is that a real recession could also affect marketing budgets. The reins may be pulled in and business in general may downsize through the hard times.
Could online marketing help prevent a full-blown recession? That is a complicated question that Alan Greenspan would probably love to debate. We cannot control the cost of gasoline, but what if we could improve our US products? What if companies could get more lean, efficient and profitable? Those are changes that could start strengthening the US dollar worldwide.
Internet marketing is certainly a channel for companies to maximize their ad spends. It has the efficiencies that traditional marketing channels have not caught up with. Technology, accountability, tracking and auction environments are just a few of the advantages. The days of branding dollars and IPO money are not relevant to today’s economic environment.
The relatively weak US dollar can equate to strong international sales of products globally. Anecdotally, I have heard from many of my European counterparts that locals last December were saying that it would be good to vacation in the US to buy all of their holiday gifts.
Products and services that are produced in the US benefit from today’s currency exchange rates in the overseas market. In many cases products can be purchased for a lower price in the US, even after factoring in international shipping and tariffs. Businesses that are well positioned on the Internet through the myriad of online marketing channels are poised to capture this imbalance in the global economy.
I welcome 2008. This could be another amazing year for the SEO/SEM industry. Even if there is a pull back, good marketers will still be in high demand. This will be a year to partner with our clients and make sure that their online marketing campaigns maximize every dollar they spend. Wisely spending marketing budgets and selling products abroad are two ways we can do our part to prevent a full-blown recession.
Joe Laratro is president-elect of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association (SFIMA). He is also the president of Tandem Interactive and may be reached at [email protected].