Independent reports continue to show digital marketing is at the heart of a successful strategy in a downturn. The findings show not only that it is vital to utilise internet marketing to survive in a modern recession, but also that businesses that best harness search engine marketing will in fact thrive while others struggle, leaving them best positioned to overtake their competitors at the first sign of the eagerly awaited green shoots of recovery.

A report from Forrester Research found overwhelming support in surveyed companies for increasing budgets in web marketing sectors such as search engine optimisation (SEO), social networking and blogging, with a broad cross-section of industries planning to increase their spend on interactive marketing, from professional and financial services to e-tailers. A pan-European study from Sapient reports that 70% of marketing managers recognise the need to engage in digital marketing, particularly in lean economic times. The study states that digital marketing is expected to increase by 45% in the next twelve months across Europe.

Why is this form of advertising and marketing thriving and how is it helping all sorts of businesses to thrive themselves? The Internet Advertising Market Assessment 2008 found that with the increased accessibility to broadband and affordable internet packages, internet advertising (both through the organic listings and pay per click) remains the fastest growing advertising medium and the main influence for steady expenditure. Digital marketing spend remains robust in a downturn as it is both measurable and demonstrates outstanding ROI.

Companies are weathering the storm by cutting back on what was once seen as more ‘traditional’ channels and ramping up their spend on online marketing. But it seems that advertising and marketing in the digital media can no longer be viewed as experimental, it has now become simply essential.