Despite trends in former recessions of decreased marketing, there are signs that many companies might keep their marketing efforts unchanged or even increased this time around.
For the airline industry which is traditionally very recession sensitive, this might be particularly true. The flight industry magazine, Airline Business, in its latest issue publishes the results of a survey conducted among 22 top level airline executives. The surveyed focuses on the airlines marketing directions and size of their marketing budgets for 2009. Interestingly, as much as 60 percent of the participating airlines claim that it is important to invest more in marketing during a recession, to stimulate demand.
Compared to last year, only 15 percent of the contributing airlines plan to decrease their marketing budget. 45 percent plan to keep the size of their marketing budgets unchanged while 30 percent of the airlines plan to spend more and 10 percent plans to spend “significantly” more. Birkir Holm Gudnason of Icelandair says in the article that his company intends to spend 10 to 20 percent more on marketing this year, compared to last, adding that Icelandair conducted a similar marketing effort as a direct response to the markets reaction of the 9/11 incidents.
In terms of marketing strategy, 81 percent of the responding airlines viewed the Internet as being very important to their marketing strategies. 57 percent responded that they would spend more money on Internet marketing this year compared to last and a further 29 percent said that they would spend “significantly” more. 75 percent of the airlines recognized optimization of their websites as a “very” important cornerstone of Internet marketing while the remaining 25 percent graded it as “important”. Search engine optimization and focus on achieving high organic search results was graded “important” or “very” important by 75 percent of the airlines.
Among the vast majority of respondents that valued Internet marketing, many mentioned social networking forums such as Facebook as interesting opportunities to look into. Some of the responding airlines are further ahead than others in exploring Internet marketing strategies. One of the Internet marketing front runners among airlines is Icelandair. Its CEO Birkir Holm Gudnason interestingly enough says that they have tried social network marketing in recent years but are going back to focus on visibility through search engine optimization as it has generated the best ROI for them so far.
Although we at Nordic eMarketing are very pleased that more and more companies are realizing the impact and strength of search engine optimization in the long term perspective we are devoted to all types of Internet marketing methods, not the least social networking. We are even happier that we keep hearing about companies and industries which will keep the size of their marketing efforts unchanged and maintain or even strengthen their brand communication during the coming years of recession. We are convinced that the players who spend their money wisely and a large part of it on Internet marketing will come out as the strongest on the other side of the recession.