The simple fact is that marketing strategies cost money, and in a recession, businesses are cutting costs wherever they can. Marketing budgets are often one of the first to be cut. However, businesses that continue to invest in marketing during a recession can gain market share and increase profits. This is because their competition is cutting down on marketing, making it easier for companies to keep marketing to stand out. So, if you want your business to thrive during a recession, you must fight the downturn with your marketing strategy.
The state of marketing in a recession
US GDP grew at 2.6% in the third quarter of 2022, contrary to forecasts for 2.3% growth. Despite this somewhat promising growth, the possibility of a recession cannot be ruled out when we consider other persistent issues such as rising interest rates, rising inflation, and continued unemployment. domestic. Anticipation of a recession caught businesses off guard as they prepared to face its brunt. But what is surprising is that the overall trend among companies is to cut marketing budgets when an economic downturn leads to lower sales and takes a toll on their revenue.
Cutting marketing budgets and carefully restructuring marketing budgets to accommodate growing economic uncertainties are two different approaches – with different results. So why do businesses decide to compromise on marketing strategies?
During a recession, other expenses take precedence, pushing marketing investments to the backseat. Paying employees, running operations, adopting new technology, and maintaining key contracts are considered more important to the survival of the business.
In addition, companies are concerned that promotions and advertising during this period could offend customers who currently tend to be more in control of their spending and are always watching how brands are doing. position itself in times of economic turmoil.
In contrast, McGraw-Hill’s research found that B2B organizations that maintained or increased their marketing budgets during the 1981-1982 recession had significantly higher sales during and over the next three years. after the recession.
So, how can marketers prioritize and adopt strategies that help businesses thrive during and after recessions? Follow our 5 marketing strategies to grow your business in the next section.
4 Marketing Strategies You Can Apply to Your Business During a Recession
Customer Marketing Strategy
Did you know a 5% increase in customer retention can even increase a company’s revenue by 25-95%? This tells us that customer marketing is the best option during an ongoing downturn when the focus is on achieving more by cutting spending.
Starbucks successfully implemented a customer marketing strategy during the 2008 recession. The world’s largest coffee shop chain put customers at the heart of its recession-fighting strategy by allowing customers to share their expectations to improve the ‘Starbucks’ experience. The brand launched a Gold Card rewards program to lure loyal customers with gifts and other in-store benefits at the height of the 2008 recession.
It was this customer marketing strategy that strengthened customer loyalty and helped Starbucks not only survive the recession but come out of it stronger than ever. Here are some tips for you to market to customers right in the face of an impending recession:
Send personalized emails to maintain a personal relationship with existing customers by sharing relevant information and offers.
Provide additional value through improved customer service, free add-ons to existing features, or provide detailed analysis of customer issues and highlight how products or Your service can solve those problems,…
Offer discounts or incentives to your users to encourage them to recommend your brand to others.
Existing customers are the real driver of your future revenue growth, as they can influence your potential customers’ purchasing decisions. Don’t be afraid to do your best to please them and maintain a healthy retention rate if you want to build business resilience during a downturn.
Changes in customer behavior, choices, and purchasing preferences require a new way of interpreting your marketing message. This isn’t about changing your vision and mission, it’s about finding a different and more relevant way of saying it. And how can you do that? By producing content that resonates with audiences.
With 70% of customers wanting to learn about your brand through content rather than advertising, content can be a means to help you reach your target audience without spending a lot of money on paid advertising.
Getting your message across to your target audience must be done thoughtfully during a recession. Make sure the content you produce or improve reflects recent market trends and resonates with customers to help them figure out how your brand is helping them stay resilient in times of crisis.
One of the largest cloud-based software companies Salesforce built a ‘Lead Through Change’ resource center, featuring blogs, webinars, videos, and eBooks to help businesses overcome the economic crisis caused by the pandemic in 2020-21. HubSpot is following the same path by launching Adapt 2020 to help businesses adapt to the ever-changing environment through educational content.
How to level up your content during a recession? Here are some tips you can follow for great results.
Create content for every stage of your customer funnel to engage your audience and encourage them to become your customers.
Use positive language and maintain an empathetic tone in your content, taking into account the sensitive moods of customers during a downturn.
Reuse your best-performing old content to drive more traffic to your website and double your chances of generating more leads.
Since a content marketing strategy costs less and generates more leads than a traditional marketing strategy, it makes for a strong marketing investment during an economic downturn. Even if you don’t see immediate results, rest assured that your content strategy will eventually lead to more conversions. Until then, continue to create content to educate your audience and highlight their top memorability.
As the recession squeezes the economy and businesses struggle to stay afloat, it’s never safe to put all your eggs in one basket. For example, paid advertising can help draw a lot of traction to your site, but you wouldn’t want to keep all your eggs in it because throwing money at ‘low traffic’ issues can make it difficult for you in an already depleted situation.
The organic marketing methods above can drive significant website traffic, but how do you convert that traffic into leads? This is where Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) helps you. With CRO, businesses make the most of existing traffic without injecting extra money into running ads to increase website traction.
Over 70% of B2B customers start their product research on the Google search engine. How does this affect your SEO strategy during a downturn? The answer is quite simple. As customer needs and behaviors change during a recession, you can do keyword research and track search trends to understand the search terms customers use to find products, services, and services. services or answers to their problems on search engines. This way, you can tailor your content to your customers’ needs, drive more interactions, and ultimately convince them to spend more on your brand.
You can also test your content pieces and optimize some of them with SEO keywords to make them relevant to your current market scenario and your audience. These combined efforts will help improve the online rankings of your content and get them in the hands of readers who want the most relevant answers to their search queries.
Moreover, all those SEO strategies that were previously ignored because of other priorities can now be addressed. So when your competitors are busy debating whether to do it or not, then you can gain an edge with SEO by improving site speed, crawlability, building linking, and indexing,…
Like content marketing strategies, SEO takes time to show results, and you can’t immediately link its metrics to your business revenue. On the better side, both of these organic marketing activities cost less than paid advertising while helping to build brand awareness in the long run. In other words, the effectiveness of SEO will outlast a recession when the economy fully recovers.
Adjusting marketing priorities isn’t just a recession-friendly marketing strategy. It says a lot about how businesses form, value, and maintain customer relationships when times are not in their favor. From a business perspective, such thinking allows companies to be proactive instead of reacting to changes around them and turn challenges into opportunities at every step.