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THUNDER FACTORY Outlines Major Marketing Trends and Challenges for 2009

Marketing Budgets Will Shrink and Shift Toward Digital Spectrum and Greater Measurability, but Creativity Continues to Matter

SAN FRANCISCO, January 27, 2009 – THUNDER FACTORY, the fast-growing integrated marketing firm that specializes in using digital media and interactive marketing to deliver measurable results for clients, today announced its annual forecast of major trends and challenges facing marketing professionals in the year ahead.

“Prognosticating about 2009 is doubly daunting because of the massive economic crisis that continues to color everything in marketing and the culture overall,” said Patrick U. Di Chiro, Chairman and CEO of THUNDER FACTORY. “But, even with the negative effects of a global recession, marketers are figuring out ways to connect with consumers and customers to build brands and drive revenues. As they say, spending into a recession can yield tremendous results. We’ll see if any marketers have the courage to step up to the plate in the uncertain year ahead.”  

Looking at the current marketing landscape, THUNDER FACTORY sees a number of emerging trends that likely will have a big impact on marketers during 2009:
  • Marketers Will Struggle to Respond Effectively and Correctly to the Cautious Consumer Mood — Consumers are definitely spending less these days ¬¬— a lot less. Americans at every level of the economic spectrum are concerned and worried about their jobs, their homes and the future in general. Marketers will struggle mightily to get just the right balance in their marketing messaging to respond to and address the steep decline in consumer confidence. We’re already seeing marketers tune their pitches to fit this gloomy economic mood – it’s aptly called “recession marketing.” It will be interesting to see if marketers can make lemonade from the sour lemons that are sprouting up in this particularly nasty recession.
  • Marketing Will Be Even More About Relationships — Marketers today need, more than ever, to build, expand and enhance the relationships they have (or should have) with their customers. It’s likely that there will be fewer of those customers for most businesses, so they will want to make the most of each and every relationship. In fact, Customer Relationship Management and behavioral targeting will be some of the few expanding areas of marketing in 2009.

  • Social Networking Gains Ground as Marketing Tool — 2009 will see a steady adoption of social networking tools and channels in the marketing industry. Tools such as web videos and blogs are already being adopted by businesses of all types and sizes, and that trend will continue to grow. The challenge remains, however, for marketers to figure out how to tap into the power of online social networks to strengthen interest in and support for their brands and products/services to achieve return-on-investment (ROI).
  • Applications Increasingly Being Adopted by Marketers — More and more companies are exploring the development of their own digital applications, from iPhone and Facebook downloads to customized engagement and gaming tools featured on brand websites. There will be a great deal of interest among marketers in smart and useful brand-oriented applications that can reach out to and excite/engage consumers and customers across the digital spectrum.

  • Marketing Budgets Shrink and Shift to Even More Digital — Marketing budgets will continue to shrink, as long as companies as well as consumers lack economic confidence. An increasing percentage of those leaner marketing budgets will go to digital channels and media, which generally are more cost efficient and where results are more easily measured. But, digital media will not totally escape the severe marketing cutbacks that are now taking place. The once heady growth in digital media spending will decline this year, the final nail to burst the Web 2.0 bubble.
  • Creativity and Content Still Matter — For all the talk of a new austerity and bottom-line focus on marketing in the face of an historic recession, creativity and content will still matter in 2009. We think even more so than ever. Strategically focused creativity and truly interesting and useful content can make the difference in marketing, especially in a time when consumers are not in the spending mood. The creative awakening will be most evident online. The marketers and their agencies that can combine fresh, breakthrough creativity with timely behavioral data will ring the cash registers in the year ahead.
For more information about the top marketing trends for 2009, please visit and the firm's blog at

Since its founding in 2000, THUNDER FACTORY has built a national reputation for creating integrated, big idea-driven marketing solutions and campaigns that help clients build their business. The firm provides a comprehensive range of strategic, marketing, communications and interactive services, with a strong focus on helping clients use the latest digital media and marketing technology to generate better results. THUNDER FACTORY's clients range from Fortune 50 corporations to leading mid-sized companies and startups. Headquartered in San Francisco, THUNDER FACTORY also has offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Houston.