In such circumstances, marketers, as much as any of their senior colleagues, need to embrace new ways of working, fresh strategies and surprising campaign executions; but are they?
An ISBA report suggests a growing disconnection between how people interact with brands in the real world and the channel-siloed shape of many brand marketing departments.
Conservatism is the last thing required in today's environment. So how has it come about? Could it be that brand-owners are no longer able to attract the greatest talent; those who understand how radically marketing has to develop?
According to the CIM's salary survey findings (which we look at on the front page of this issue), marketing directors have experienced a salary freeze - although this, the report suggests, is about to change.
High time, too. The best comes at a price. If you are happy with the status quo and risk-aversion, maybe you don't need to pay a premium for a genuinely entrepreneurial marketing director.
Meanwhile in the public sector, salaries have edged ahead of those in the commercial domain, possibly because it may have been public-sector policy, before government cuts, to award employees rises that matched or even exceeded inflation.
On the plus side, the gender pay gap could be a thing of the past. Yet some of the historical causes of lower salaries for women - for example, fewer mothers returning to work has a dampening effect on salaries - may be insurmountable.
In the chilly atmosphere of a possible double-dip recession, a pay freeze for your marketing director is probably a false economy.