Few companies are taking advantage of opportunities in recession


    TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - Canadian business and marketing executives
overwhelmingly agree that an economic downturn means opportunity to increase
market share, so long as you're willing to invest in your business.
    But converting belief into action is another matter.
    This was one of the key findings of the Gauge Marketing Barometer, a
newly launched annual probe into important issues in Canadian marketing. The
study results were based on 207 random online interviews with senior
executives across Canada completed in January 2009.
    "We found that nine out of 10 senior executives agree that a recession is
a good time to gain new customers and build market share with existing
customers," says Brett Marchand, Executive Vice President and Managing
Director of Cossette, Toronto.
    "But, at the same time, most are reluctant to act upon the opportunity by
increasing their marketing budgets," Marchand points out.
    The study also discovered a root cause of the disconnect, namely that
both Chief Executive Officers and their Chief Marketing Officer colleagues
agree that marketing's role in achieving business objectives is poorly
understood inside most companies.
    "Our goal is to stimulate dialogue based on the research and these
fundamental challenges inside the C-suite should lead to some spirited
conversations," adds Marchand, who hosted a panel discussion on the Gauge
study and its findings in Toronto today.
    "There is a belief that market share can be increased during a recession
yet the majority of marketing budgets are being reduced or staying the same,"
says Julius Diamond, President of IMI International. "Simultaneously, senior
executives report that they do not have sufficient ROI metrics. Measuring all
marketing activity using the same 'ruler' is necessary to give senior
executives the confidence to provide the budget and allocations necessary to
achieve company objectives."
    Panelists at the Tuesday morning session included: Bobby Brittain, Vice
President, Sparkling Business Unit Coca-Cola Canada; Dave Frederickson, Vice
President of Corporate Marketing, HP Canada; Susan Helstab, Executive Vice
President Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Brian O'Mara, Vice
President, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited;
and Larry Rosen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Harry Rosen Inc.
    The Gauge partnership includes Cossette, marketing research company IMI
International and Canadian Business magazine. Each year Gauge will conduct
research into areas of current interest to Canadian marketing and business
executives and provide insights that will help promote a dialogue between
marketing agencies and clients.

    Other findings and highlights of the Gauge 2009 Marketing Barometer

    -   Looking ahead to the coming year, senior executives are under
        pressure to build market share, however, 37% of CMOs and 24% of CEOs
        believe their marketing budgets will decrease.

    -   To gain market share, budget allocation will shift from traditional
        media and image-awareness building to price discounting, experiential
        and online media. Both online and price discounting were cited by 45%
        of marketers as the tactic to best attract customers, compared to
        traditional media, which was named as the tactic of choice by 22% of

    -   Only 29% of respondents indicated that they have ROI metrics that
        apply across different media, strong interest to measure media

    -   Half of both CEOs and CMOs agree that the role of marketing in
        driving success is not well understood, and about a third of both
        marketers (38%) and business decision makers (33%) say that
        understanding of the role of marketing needs improvement.


    COSSETTE offers a full range of leading-edge communications services to
clients of all sizes, including some of the most prestigious brands in the
world. A customer-driven organization built around highly specialized business
units, COSSETTE also offers Convergent Communications(TM), a unique working
method that brings added value to the client by integrating various services
offered by the group, including strategic planning and research services,
advertising, media planning and buying, sales promotion, customer relationship
management, database and direct marketing, interactive and technological
marketing solutions, public relations and alliance marketing, branding and
design, ethnic marketing, sports marketing, branded content and product
placement, and business-to-business communications. COSSETTE has approximately
1,650 employees and offices in Quebec City, Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver,
Halifax, New York, Irvine, Los Angeles, London, Moscow and Shanghai.

    IMI Internatiional

    IMI International is a leading consulting firm focused on evidence-based
marketing decisions. IMI provides its clients with market intelligence and
facts to guarantee an increased return on their marketing expenditures. With a
database of over 9,000 validated case studies, IMI delivers customized best
practices and recommendations, all designed to drive ROI.


    Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, best-selling
and most trusted business publication in Canada. Canadian Business stands
alone as the business magazine in Canada with 100% paid circulation. With a
readership of more than one million, the magazine is published every second
Monday, except in January, July and August, when monthly issues are published.
Special annual issues of Canadian Business include the Investor 500, the MBA
Guide, the Rich 100 and the Best and Worst Boards. Visit

For further information:

For further information: COSSETTE INC.: Mark Smyka, (416) 306-6594,
mark.smyka@cossette.com; CANADIAN BUSINESS: Louise Leger, (416) 764-4125,

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