10 Ideas for Weathering Recessionary Times – Part 1 of 2

During recessionary times many organizations scale back advertising and how marketing budgets are spent. For media professionals, what does this mean in practical terms? For many, this is not the first time we’ve seen a downturn in the economy. We know clients are watching budgets more closely, there’s more competition, and margins are slimmer. We know how to operate lean-`n-mean – editing on a laptop while flying home from a shoot. But there is only so much expense that can be removed from a business. How can media professionals weather the storm?

I spoke with a number of media professionals who have been through the dry times before. Some of those I spoke with have their own business, some work for production companies, and others work within an enterprise. Regardless of your business model, these ideas can help you Weather Recessionary Times.

1. Showcase Flexibility: What does your front door, that is your Internet home page, say about you and the services you offer? Bruce Wittman of Eagle Video touches all bases with his website, showing on-line clips for use in marketing, training, recruitment, medical, multimedia and more. Bruce says, “people come to the [his] site looking for a specific kind of project. If someone wants to do a program with dancing frogs, it helps to have something like that on your website.”

2. Web Delivery: Everyone gets it, yes even clients. It’s all about the web. Barnstormer Communications Larry Wegman has been assisting clients transition their communication to on-demand, web-based content. “Clients are increasingly interested in creating messages that live on their website. It’s more convenient for them, they have control over distribution, and they can change it when they want.” Larry has helped clients develop shorter, more focused messages, which help offset reductions in advertising budgets.

3. Innovation & Quality: We’re all familiar with the phrase, a race to the bottom. It refers to people being prepared to settle for “good enough” when they ought to be striving for best. Service providers can reduce the price of their services, but as Greg Rowland of MindWorks Multimedia points out, with everyone reducing prices, “you do not have a competitive advantage and your margins become so small that you can’t survive for long. If a service provider offers better quality, improved service, and innovation, they stand out from the competition. Often times, innovative solutions are also cost-reducing solutions. For example, innovative eLearning courses are more effective and less expensive than classroom training.” Helping clients reduce their costs goes a long way when budgets are tight.

4. One-Stop-Shop: Economists talk about it, managers talk about, parents paying their teenager’s gasoline bill talk about it… productivity  being efficient, getting the most bang for your buck. Taylor Sisk, a freelance producer and writer who works in association with Take One Productions, has begun offering his clients additional services. “I’ve started producing radio spots for political clients, [in addition to television commercials] as a means of providing them with more of a one-stop-shop service.” Established client relations, or the knowledge gained from developing a first project, can open the door to new opportunity – if you’re willing to stretch your communication skills.

5. Enthusiasm: In my closet at home I keep advice from a fortune cookie, reminding me to stay true to the dreams of youth. Documentary-style producer, David Rose of Rose Films, believes it’s important to “take on the kind of work that really interests you, and then go after clients who appreciate what you have to offer. This does not mean that we don’t get into other types of projects, but our core business is in what we do best, and like to do.” Work pays the bills and consumes much of our time. Enjoy life. Enjoy work.

More thoughts and ideas for how experienced media professionals are dealing with today’s difficult economy in part two of this post.

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