Tough Times Breed Creativity

In economic downturns, marketing is often the first thing to go from most corporate settings. Although they may pay homage to it publicly, many company chiefs privately see marketing as disposable fluff.

After all, their product or service is so good it doesn’t really need to be marketed. (He says sarcastically, since, astonishingly, he has actually heard versions of this several times).

But the truth for all companies is that if you build it, they probably won’t come because they won’t know you exist. So marketing is not disposable; it’s essential.

With that in mind, a Vancouver recruitment firm is dealing with the downturn in a creative way. Peter Reek’s SmartSavvy + Associates is holding a “Marketing Idol” competition to find the top grads of 2009 from the province’s marketing schools.

This isn’t an academic competition. Reek wants the best as well as the brightest in one package, because he feels that’s what it takes to succeed these days. So the top three winners will be picked for their total offering of knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and behaviors.

“We’re looking for Top Grads who have all the positive ‘self’ qualities: self-aware, self-motivated, self-restrained, and self-confident,” Reek says.

Reek admits that marketing jobs aren’t opening up “fast and furious” in this economic climate, but says there will always be some forward thinking companies who are looking beyond today and recognize the value of a good marketer.

SmartSavvy is a small business, and Reek’s move sounds like a very clever way to deal with all this gloom and fear that’s affecting business today. Instead of just cutting back blindly, wringing his hands, and curling up into a ball on the carpet, he’s adapting and trying a few new things. Maybe that’s the real lesson here. The best time to get creative is when things look their worst. After all, what have you got to lose?