Marketing in a recession

Nate Crosby |

At first glance, I am willing to bet a lot of companies will cut their marketing budgets. Marketing is often viewed as an expense but let’s be real, marketing is an investment. 

Another way to think about this is with your investment portfolio for example. During the last six months you may have felt the urge to sell some of your investments. But if you listen to this podcast on the regular, you’d know that the best thing to do is to leave your investments where they are. Just like marketing—when investing for the long term—you may reallocate or recalibrate your investment, but you only truly “lose” if you eliminate them.

Whether B2B or B2C, your customers’ budgets are also in high demand. This is the time when attention needs to be gained, customers need to be educated, and value propositions need to get stronger. 

Here are 5 things you should be doing with your marketing budget in a recession:

  1. Keep your current customers happy 
    • Put yourself in their shoes – how are their needs shifting, what message do they need to hear from you? Then adjust your communications strategies to remind them why they buy your brand! Be authentic!
    • Segment your customers – every industry and person will react differently to the recession so try to identify the customers that will be most impacted and categorize their purchases with you as essentials vs luxury. 
  2. Study the market 
    • As the market stabilizes it’s important to know if your buyers will continue buying the same things at the same levels or if you need to shift your message – take time to analyze the market factors and know exactly where your customers will be when the market turns around.   
    • Watch your competitors closely – if they cut their marketing budgets, pounce on it and take some share!
  3. Look at your product offerings and emphasize what that you know will still resonate during this time 
    • Luxury vs value lines, repair vs buy new 
    • If your business model can support it, consider payment options or promotions / discounts 
    • Form partnerships with complimentary businesses to expand the reach of your messages 
  4. Focus on ‘free’ stuff 
    • Build your social media following – whether your brand is new or established, social media success takes dedication. Put some metrics in place and grow your fan base! 
    • Repurpose everything you do to maximize its value – your brochures, website copy, customer testimonials – it’s all great content so why not re-package it for different channels and get the most out of it. 
  5. Assess your vendors 
    • If you use marketing agencies / consultants, look for ways to streamline and form solid partnerships with teams / people that you trust. 
    • Investigate the business model of your agencies – are they using subcontractors? If so, you could be paying a lot less for the same work. 

Remember, keep your current customers happy! Don’t change your strategy / message too much and don’t get cheap – your customers will notice. 

Please note: This content is not a direct recommendation for investment. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. Not all investments are suitable for all people. Crosby Advisory Group, LLC is a registered investment advisor in Ohio, Florida, and Texas.