What small advertising agencies should do during a recession

Small agencies are especially vulnerable during a bad economy.

Bart Cleveland, AdAge’s Small Agency Diary provides some excellent advice for hard times. He shares that this recessionary period is the time for small agencies maximize their opportunities during lean times to gain ground in achieving their business goals:

  • Keep what you have while getting someone else’s. Advertisers aren’t just trimming budgets; they are re-evaluating their relationships to determine if they are getting the most for their money.
  • Great agencies shine brightest during dark times. When times are bad, there is better talent available to small agencies. Due to layoffs or the fear of them, good talent can be open to working for an up-and-coming agency.
  • Work hard even when there isn’t a lot of work going on. Staying busy is the key to getting out of the gate fast when the economy rebounds. Good employees expect to be challenged.

I’ll include a fourth, contributed by ad agency digital consultant Jason Baer, Convince & Convert:

  • Focus on marketing tactics where success can be measured and defined. Marketing directors are running scared (or are likely to be eventually), and in that scenario that want to minimize risk and waste. The inherent measurability and relatively low cost of digital tactics are more attractive to clients when the economy is less robust, and digital will be the one area of the business that will grow this year.

Agencies will have much more success acquiring new business if they diligently pursue their new business goals despite the economic conditions.

Read Bart’s article: Buckle Up; It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride

Read Jason’s article: 5 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Will Thrive in the Recession

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Moreover, cartoons can add alot to newsletters that are published by advertising agencies. I offer over 3000+ cartoons which are categorized by subject matter. Fees to license are very resonable and my work can be viewed for consideration at http://www.danscartoons.com

    Thank you…………

  2. I think it’s imperative to use down time and slow times as wisely as possible. Invest in internal efficiencies. Improve workflows. Make working with your agency as easy and simple as possible. It’s always easy to go look for new business. Use your down time to focus inwards and make your business operations better than ever.

%d bloggers like this: