It is fascinating to hear industry execs speak of how most of their customers are cutting back on their spending so in response they reduce their spending on new customer acquisition by cutting PR, marketing and sales budgets. Of course some companies have been caught off-guard and are literally operating month to month and have no choice but to cut from these areas.
But for those companies who are able, now is the time to keep the above budgets steady or even increase them. There are exceptions of course - if your product cannot be sold profitably with increased marketing, PR etc then you may want to get your resume ready.
Marketing today has evolved light years from where it was in the past. You can now track page views, clicks, browsing behavior and response to various creative graphics and messaging. In short, you can determine how to spend outreach dollars more effectively today than ever before.
And most companies don't realize this. They sadly have top level managers who indiscriminately cut customer outreach dollars because that made sense to them in the past when measurement techniques were in the stone ages.
What needs to be factored into the equation is the fact that customer outreach has evolved and disciplines like SEO, SEM, social networking, PR, live and web events need to be continued - in order to get more customers.
Sometimes a change in messaging is needed as well. For example, the hair dye company Just For Men is now running ads on TV which imply their product can help candidates on job interviews. Genius. By definition, many will infer the product can help them keep their job as well.
For more very intelligent thoughts on the matter check out this blog post