Why you should invest in marketing through a recession

As the global economy continues to struggle, competitive regions such as the UK are bound to feel the effects of the looming recession. Naturally, the first thing consumers and companies alike think of is cutting back on the non-essentials. While cutting back on marketing through a recession may seem obvious, it is counterproductive to hold this belief. This article explains why your business should ignore seemingly self-preservation tactics and increase its marketing budget where possible.

What is a recession?

A recession is when an economy contracts in the period of two consecutive quarters in a financial year. A vibrant economy such as ours takes a while to head toward a recession, but major global events, like the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the recent political chaos have caused a significant impact.

For consumers, a recession simply means that their purchasing power will diminish, and so will access to financial instruments.

For businesses, sales will decline and even plummet. Under normal circumstances, you’ll have to cut back on manufacturing more products, perhaps even downsize your staff, and take other actions to keep the business afloat. Reducing your marketing budget makes sense, but therein lies the problem; such a move will give you short-term gains but losses in the long run. You need to understand that all economic climates are cyclical, and a recession is inevitable. So, why not invest in marketing?

Marketing through a recession
Expenditure on marketing may seem counter-intuitive but it often is the best thing to do

Why should you continue marketing through a recession?

A lesson from history. During the previous recessions, companies that took a proactive approach to marketing came out on top once the economy stabilised enough to see positive growth. This reason alone should be motivation enough to keep marketing. You only need to change your strategy to suit the current times, with an eye on the long term. As the old saying goes, When times are good, you should advertise; when times are bad, you MUST advertise. This speaks to the consumers’ mentality where they may have cut back on spending, but they still need to make certain purchases and have more time to reflect on their spending. You need to be visible and present in their lives during such moments.

You need to fortify customer loyalty

Customer loyalty can be leveraged to make marketing through a recession even more effective.
Customer loyalty can help you through a recession and also provide new business at a critical time.

Today’s consumer is more price-conscious and more brand-aware in the age of social media. They are less likely to invest in the product but more likely to invest in the company and its brand. Therefore, having secured their loyalty, a recession presents the chance to reassure them of your loyalty as much as you demand theirs. You need to remain in touch with your existing customers as you try to reach out to new ones. You’ll send the message: “We’re in this together.”

Since everyone is going through the recession, your customers are now more critical than ever. You cannot afford to let them question their allegiance to your brand. Therefore, marketing during a recession is crucial.

The effects are not uniform

It is assumed that everyone feels the same effects in a recession. However, different industries feel different impacts, which is the same for customers. Therefore, you cannot hold such views. Instead, find out how the recession affects your customers and how they cope with it. This should inform your marketing strategy in the new reality.

How do you market during the recession?

Your marketing approach has to change, and you may not have the usual budget to work with. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

Focus first on existing customers

As mentioned, loyal customers will carry you through the dark days. It costs up to five times more to acquire a new customer than keeping an existing one. Therefore, securing the loyalty of existing customers is cheaper, which works well when trying to minimise costs. It also ensures you have a solid base to build upon.

Focus more on reassurance and less on disruption

You need to be a constant friend in your customers’ lives. They need to know that despite the hardships, you are not abandoning them. You’re there to get through this, so you can all enjoy the good times. Therefore, reach out with engaging emails, blog posts, newsletters, advertisements, and PR content.

Acknowledge the present realities

Customers appreciate a realistic approach instead of telling them everything is fantastic and they need not worry much. At the same time, telling them everything is doomed does little to boost their morale. Therefore, acknowledge the challenging economic times but offer hope in your messaging. You need to encourage them and uplift their spirits.

Remind customers you’re still here

Just as you would wrongfully assume customers can’t purchase what you’re selling, so too can they assume you’ve shut down for the recession. You need to remind them that you are open for business and can handle all their demands. This allows those who need something from you to reach out and those that are only hindered by a lack of funds to reach out as soon as they have some.

Target different customers

This does not mean you completely ignore your loyal customer base, but you need to go where there is money. You may have to consider selling to a different market segment, even if that means modifying some of your products and services or developing new ones.

Conclusion

The recession will change many aspects of your customers’ lives, but it does not mean you stop marketing to them. You only need to change your strategy. Marketing through a recession keeps your business afloat and brings more customers once the dark days are over.

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