Marketing in a recession can be a double challenge.
First, you probably have to keep a close watch on how you are spending your marketing budget. Chances are you have less to work with now than you did before the economic slowdown.
Second, articles and research studies all point to the need to increase marketing during slow economic times in order to come out strong the other end.
How do you manage to do both?
How should your marketing efforts change in a recession?
Your first reaction may be to cut way back on your marketing budget. And realistically you probably will have less money to play with. But rather than simply doing less of what you already do, you should think about ways to be smarter with your marketing budget and focus your messaging and communication venues on the things that matter most to buyers in slow economic times: their bottom line and meeting their immediate (short-term) needs. Having a long-term visionary story is great, but your marketing should not lead with that. Keep it focused on the bottom line customer benefits.
How do successful firms grow their businesses during recessions? These are the mantras they follow:
You may find it hard to grow your bottom line in a recession, but you can grow market share. In a recession, this should be your main marketing success metric. Your revenue numbers are misleading because they are impacted overall by the economic situation and its effect on customer wallets.
If your sales are down, then your expenses need to shrink as well. Track every marketing expenditure no matter how small. Your marketing budget needs to be working to bring in immediate business and/or grow market share. If you can’t track it, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it.
Many vendors forget to market to existing customers. The likelihood of a repeat sale from a current customer is always higher than selling to a new customer. And not only that, but by talking with current customers you get valuable feedback on how the recession is impacting their business and you can react accordingly.
How can you find growing market niches when business is slow? Even in a recession, some niches will continue to grow. Focus your marketing efforts on those customer groups who have money to spend and can realize immediate value from your product or service.