New Razorfish report discusses how marketers have responded to the recession

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Today my employer Razorfish announces the publication of the sixth annual Razorfish Outlook Report. This report takes a hard look at trends affecting the chief marketing officer, drawing on essays from thought leaders and an analysis of 2009 media spend by Razorfish clients. Here are a few highlights from the 2010 edition (#RZOR):

1. Good news/bad news: economic recovery is here

An economic recovery is under way — which is good news or bad news depending on whether you innovated during the recession. Optimism about a recovery stems from the fact that Razorfish clients increased their media spend by 4 percent in 2009 versus a 13 percent drop in 2008. We believe that the CMOs who used the down time to innovate and advance their brands are in a great place. Those that failed to do so are going to fall further behind the innovators. MillerCoors innovated during the recession, for instance with a new product feature, the cold-activated can. Mercedes-Benz USA innovated with the launch of the E-Class sedan. Those companies are poised to fully benefit from an economic turnaround.

2. Recession = digital experimentation for many

Razorfish clients had an appetite for experimentation with their media spend in 2009. One hundred percent of Razorfish clients that spent on digital-out-of-home did so for the first time in 2009. Eight out of 10 clients who invested into ad exchanges were doing so for the first time (as opposed to simply carrying over their spend from 2008). All told, the channels that were most popular for experimentation in 2009 included data brokers, digital out-of-home, and ad exchanges.

3. Watch out, Google

Google still dominated search in a recessionary environment, but not for long. About 45 percent of Razorfish clients’ media spend in 2009 was invested into portals and search. Google still leads the search category. However, Razorfish expects the combination of Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! to challenge Google’s dominance. Bing is a good example of how innovation can occur even with a tried-and-true form of marketing — search.

4. Think and act locally

Many clients are also learning how to think and act locally as they emerge from the recession and seek to grow globally. The popular credo “think globally, act locally,” does not adequately explain what those marketers need to do. In fact, global marketers need to immerse themselves in the increasingly sophisticated and fragmented micromarkets around the world — thinking and acting locally several times over if you will. That’s why the Razorfish Outlook Report contains perspectives on the growth of global markets (in a chapter known as “Looking Ahead”). For instance, Razorfish Strategy Executive Joe Crump contributes a tantalizing point of view on Brazil, an increasingly powerful and digitally savvy market crucial to global players like Nike. Joe discusses “Classe C,” an increasingly upwardly mobile economic cluster of 70 million people who are shaping the future of Brazil. Joe asserts that the digitally savvy Classe C has rapidly made Brazil too important for any serious marketer to ignore. Joe is now launching research into Classe C that will be unveiled later in 2010.

I invite you to explore the report, and feel free to download charts and graphics from flicker. I welcome your comments. What I’ve summarized here barely scratches the surface.

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