Marketing in a Recession: Do's & Don'ts
You don’t have to be a financial expert to understand that our economy is not in a great place. Recession. Inflation. Economic downturn. However you want to define it, Americans are not optimistic about where things are headed this year. With that being said, in good times and in bad, marketing your business and continuing to sell your products and services is essential!
This may feel like a scary time, but data from the 2008 recession proves that such economic circumstances can actually be filled with opportunity. It turns out that most companies who invest in their advertising in economic downturns tend to do better in the long term. Hopefully, you’re feeling more reassured about the near future, but marketing in turbulent times is still no easy job. Here are our do’s and don’ts for marketing in a recession.
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”
DO: Keep your brand consistent
Your audience has enough to worry about in times like this, don’t add in unnecessary confusion! While we usually are in favor of a rebrand, (we went through a major one ourselves) they’re all about timing. Keeping your brand name, messaging, and visuals consistent helps achieve a loyal and consistent audience. This is the time to lean on the customers you can count on.
DON’T: Overdo your campaigns
While staying true to your brand voice, now is the time to focus on campaigns that promote empathy and are mission-based. A majority of your audience will most likely not identify with images and messaging centered around luxury or celebration at this time. In order to retain your current audience, it’s vital to pay attention to their current needs and what they truly care about.
DO: Find your unique differentiator
While customers won’t entirely stop spending in an economic downturn, they certainly become more conscientious of what they spend their money on. In order to continue to convince them to buy your product or service, you may have to work harder than normal. One solution is finding your USP, or unique selling proposition. This is what sets you apart from your competition and tells your audience how you uniquely solve their problem. Once you identify this differentiating quality, you can then craft marketing campaigns surrounding it.
DON’T: Slash your budgets
When faced with shrinking budgets, many companies look to marketing and advertising as the first areas to cut. Their thought process is typically, “If there aren’t any customers buying, why continue to try to market to them?” However, this is their biggest mistake. These customers aren’t gone, they’re just lying dormant, and if you continue to speak to them, they’ll most likely choose your product when they come back to purchase. Slashing marketing budgets will only result in a loss of brand awareness, SEO ranking, and brand loyalty. Many large companies found recessions to be their opportunity to level up, and saw that increasing their budgets not only saw them through the recession, but led to large growth in years following.
DO: Get creative
As we previously mentioned, this is a key time to get in touch with your audience. Another way to do this is by adding unique options for them as they purchase your products or services. Brainstorm ways you can add additional value and options to your customers. One solution is tiered pricing. This gives all of your customers (and their various budgets) options to purchase, and even leaves room to upsell to those that can afford it.
DON’T: Forget your value
Lastly, remember that customers choose to buy from your brand for a reason. Amplifying your company’s messaging through marketing and advertising is simply how we reach them and notify them of your company. Although you may feel that it’s your top-tier products or services winning them over (which may be the case!), many consumers choose brands with visions and missions they identify with. This being said, don’t forget to balance out your marketing between showing off your actual products and services with your business’ mission and values.
Feeling calmer yet? We certainly aren’t saying it will be easy - however this isn’t the first recession anyone has had to market through and unfortunately it won’t be the last. As marketers we completely understand your current position and are here to support you! Reach out to us for assistance through these tumultuous times.