I recently posted (in three parts) an article I wrote for The Moscow Times and Vedomosti (Russian joint venture of Wall Street Journal and Financial Times) about three opportunities for marketing during a recession.
Another, no less tangible opportunity for marketers during a recession is to simply...become better. A recession is a rebuilding opportunity for businesses. It is a chance for companies to rediscover their uniqueness or reinvent themselves into the company they need to be in order to ensure future success.
During boom times, companies tend to "keep their heads down", move forward on one course and focus on quarterly results. A recession interrupts this pattern. For most companies the result is paralysis. But if you are smarter than the average businessman (and I know you are if you are reading this) it provides the time to look up to the horizon, challenge conventional thinking and decide where you really want your company to be in the next year or next decade -- rather than just next month or next quarter. It is a time to get new products and new services off the drawing board and into reality, maybe build environmental and social responsibility into your brands or target a new market segment. These are all directions that need planning this year if they are to be realized next year.
While everyone else is obsessed with near term losses, you could be planning for long term profitability.