In a period of tightening budgets marketing leaders would seem to be at a crossroads, do they innovate and boldly engage with the audience to help shape their strategy or do they stick what they traditionally know?

Forrester observe that 25% of marketers, faced with the recession are choosing the latter and yet this could be the very time for going with the new and grasping these new audience engagement channels. 

In this article at MediaPost -Online Media Daily, Gavin O’Malley discusses marketing strategies as budgets are tightened, referring to the latest Forrester research by Lisa Bradner, following their survey of 102 marketing leadership professionals. 

“Consumer needs change rapidly in response to economic uncertainty .. Companies that track those shifts and respond to them quickly can find new avenues for growth.”

The Forrester report, as the article observes,  states that to stay current with these quickly changing demands requires embracing social media as a quick, inexpensive route to the hearts and minds of the consumer. 

Compared with expensive focus groups or surveys, social technologies are viewed as cheaper and able to give almost instant consumer feedback, while they embrace consumers as participants in the innovation process.

In contrast consumers are driven differently, feeling more conservative:

During this downturn, for instance, consumers have indicated a shift toward comfort and community, and away from uniqueness and variety.

So, it seems that the consumers might be viewing the world conservatively during uncertain times, but in contrast Forrester conclude that marketers need to be bold in how they stay in touch with those views.

The full report from Forrester can be purchased here.