Yesterday, Ogilvy North America announced that it is launching a dedicated Recession Marketing Practice that is specifically designed to help clients address the difficult marketing issues created by the current economic downturn.  According to the announcement, the new practice will bring together more than 100 of Ogilvy's experts in marketing strategy, analytics, measurement, e-mail, technology, and media.  These experts will be using a set of "21 Ogilvy Solutions" that are designed to help clients maximize the value and performance of their marketing budgets.

It's too soon, of course, to know how successful Ogilvy's Recession Marketing Practice will be.  But this step by Ogilvy does raise an interesting issue.  Many graphic communications companies now consider themselves to be "marketing services providers."  I can't help but wonder how many of these MSP's are now working aggressively to create innovative solutions that will help clients maximize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and "stretch" their marketing dollars.

In both good economic times and bad, business organizations need to find, win, and keep customers, and finding, winning, and keeping customers is the essence of marketing.  When marketing budgets are cut (as they often are in a recession), marketing executives look for ways to "do more with less."  Marketing services providers who can help clients achieve this elusive goal can separate themselves from the competition and build client relationships that are exceptionally strong.  It will be interesting to see how many MSP's can successfully leverage the opportunities that, ironically, the current recession is creating.