• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Do clients spend more in a recession?


Active Member
What intrigues me more is that urban-marketeers-myth, that ‘clients that spend well in recession come out stronger’. Ask around and you’ll find that no-one can attribute this piece of insight to anyone, anyone at all. As Jeremy Bullmore succinctly pointed out in last week’s Campaign ‘if you’re getting tired of this same old mantra, just think how your clients are feeling. They’ve just had their worst fourth quarter since 1933, they’re bracing themselves to lay off 12% of their marketing department… …and you, the airhead from the agency, sidle in to tell them that all they have to do is hold their nerve and their advertising budget’.
A recent blog post by Michael Johnson at JohnsonBanks, makes for an interesting read - The client side of the story, part one - the johnson banks thought for the week

What do you think? Are clients cutting back on their spend with agencies and perhaps approaching freelancers as a way to reduce their outgoings? Are your clients spending more with you in an attempt to bring in more business?

Not sure about this one, however from my experience I have had a bit of a mixed bag at the moment. Gaining new clients is a bit of a struggle at the mo as people do seem a bit wary, so best to treat existing clients like gold. However one unexpected upside from the current economic climate I have noticed is a lot of places have recruitment freezes in place. If the work is still coming in and but they can't employ permanent members of staff to cover it, then using freelancers tends to be the answer.


Senior Member
TBH it depends on the company and how courageous the boss thinks he is.

My uncle's boss (a catering company, Troughles Fine Foods - Wholesale Food Distributors and Catering Suppliers in the West Midlands - Home) have spent quite a bit to get themselves noticed more. They lose big hotel clients every week because their clients lose out on customers, so it's surprising they broke the domino effect and actually got a site.

On the other hand, I've lost e-commerce clients and the rest, just because their business was no longer economically viable, which is a bit gutting.

Surely, if clients no longer use a service, and that service no longer uses a service, and that client can no longer use a service, we're all stuffed?


Active Member
consolidate existing clients is the first rule.

i don't think clients will cut agencies off and use freelancers as a cheaper alternative. As established business and agencies have reputation, weight and collateral in the field. ( no offence to independant freelancers)
BUT i do think that clients will be seeking best value for work. and will want maximum return on investment from established agencies - I know this a fact. It's not cutting back it's just nailing agencies testicles to the wall, because they can!