Recession Marketing: Thrive, Not Survive

May 3, 2023

Author: Tayla Shortland

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Marketing through a recession: keeping up with the economy’s changing tides

During economic downturns, businesses tend to tighten their belts more frequently. As we see all too often here at ninetyblack, the first expense to go is usually the marketing budget. This makes us sad, not just because it means less work for us (we love work!) but because it’s usually the absolute wrong thing to do during a crisis. Studies have shown that businesses who market themselves well during recessions are the ones most likely to survive. While it’s easy to want to pump the brakes during economic slowdowns, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider pivoting your strategy instead of removing it altogether.

Plus, digital marketing allows brands to be much more targeted in how they advertise than in the past, helping streamline that all-important marketing budget. Gone are the days where businesses are tied to expensive and lengthy print and radio campaigns. Advancements in marketing tools have allowed flexibility and cost-efficiency for many business owners. Nowadays, it is as simple as adjusting the daily budget with one click or swapping out your message with just one new image.

So, why should you continue to invest in marketing during a recession?

1. Stay in people’s minds

Marketing is the equivalent of waving your hand around for attention in a crowded room. If you wave less frequently, people will notice you less. If you stop waving altogether, eventually people won’t even remember you. And when leads and revenue start to decrease, you can blame it on the recession, not the fact you stopped waving. When money is scarce, consumers are careful about how they spend their dollars and who they spend them with. Consumers want to be sure they are buying from reputable and well-known brands, and for many consumers today, reputation and brand recognition are baked into their digital shopping experiences.

2. Keep your competitive edge

In tough economic times, it’s not enough to simply survive – you want to thrive! And one of the best ways to do that is by maintaining your marketing efforts. While other businesses may be cutting back, keeping your marketing wave strong can give you a competitive edge. By reallocating and re-evaluating your marketing spend, you can maximise your return on investment and come out ahead of the competition. Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching new customers and retaining your loyal ones. Slashing your marketing investment weakens your brand and reduces profitability in the long run. Instead of cutting everything off completely, focus on your core strategies and quality over quantity. Reducing your market presence is a missed opportunity that your competitors will gladly take advantage of. Keep your brand presence alive and well, and you’ll position yourself for success both now and in the future. So why settle for just surviving when you can thrive with a strong and steady marketing strategy?

3. Don’t start from square one again

Economies go through swings and troughs. Inevitably, we will come out the other side, and if you’ve been one of the lucky few who cut their budgets but survived, well done. Unfortunately, it’s extremely likely that your marketing position will now be greatly reduced, especially if savvy competitors have managed to snag market share from you during that time. You’ll have to start from scratch. Instead, think of this downtime as an opportunity to streamline your marketing rather than being a setback, because in the long run your business will emerge stronger than ever and be set up for long-term success.

4. Invest the right marketing

As a business owner you need to keep up with the ever-changing marketing landscape. Digital marketing should be the forefront of any recession marketing strategy.. There is a multitude of channels and options that traditional tactics just can’t match such as SEO, Google Ads, Facebook ads, social media posts, website blogs, and email newsletters and automation to keep your brand alive and leveraged. Best of all, you can choose a few, or just one – based on your target market’s behaviours. It’s also easier to measure your return on investment, making digital channels a more accurate and efficient place to spend your budget.

5. Get a website SEO audit done

Here’s a great way to spend your marketing dollars when things are slow – check your website is up to date with the latest technology and best practices. We recommend running regular SEO audits of your site, but a great time to do this is when you have the time to spend making important improvements to your website. This will set you up for success when the traffic starts flowing again, pushing you to the top of the search rankings. You might also be able to invest time into writing a business blog, which is a fantastic way to improve your visibility online.

Let’s be frank, cutting back marketing when the going gets tough may initially deliver an immediate upfront saving, but over time that cut back will soon become apparent. Marketing isn’t an option, it is a necessity for any business, and it creates sales, customers and repeat business which is the lifeline for any business. No matter what your future holds, keep waving in that room and embrace the efforts of streamlining your marketing.

Did you like any of the ideas from this post? We can help you with SEO audits, digital marketing, website improvements, and business strategies for tough times. After all, we’ve been through a few recessions ourselves!