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Many of us have been surprised by recent events. The changes to daily life came on swiftly and businesses of all types are being impacted. However, as a marketer for over two decades, one thing that hasn’t surprised me is the notion that marketing is discretionary – an expense to be cut back as soon as revenues take a dive or uncertainty appears.

I experienced it firsthand during the Great Recession, when I served as vice president of marketing for a mid-sized credit union in Maryland. While the institution itself was strong and weathered the storm relatively well, we were all challenged to cut expenses and a big chunk of my marketing budget vanished before my eyes. I made the hard choice of ending our long-time advertising commitment with the local newspaper. We weren’t the only advertiser to make that decision. Today, that local paper no longer exists. That certainly didn’t make the community stronger or underscore our mission as a cooperative.

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