How Marketing in a Recession Can Generate A Recession Proof-Business
Managing a business during a recession can be scary. Often you’re navigating unfamiliar waters and naturally you view cutting the budget as part of staying afloat. But remember, you’re not the first to carry your business through a recession. There are lots of important lessons that can be learned from those who not only survived a recession, but actually used a recession to gain an edge over their competitors.
During a recession, marketing is often the first thing in a budget that’s slashed. You might be wondering, is there such a thing as a recession proof business? But history tells us that marketing during a recession can actually give you more bang for your buck than any other time. The Harvard Business Review notes that businesses that maintain their marketing spend while reallocating it to suit the context – be it in product development, advertising and communication, or pricing – typically fare better than firms that cut their marketing investments. This kind of marketing requires a substantial pivot… but that’s nothing we can't handle after almost three years of Covid-19!
Here are three steps you can take in order to take advantage of marketing in a recession:
Make your marketing more effective and value-based – In a recession, your marketing needs to be extra effective. You need to present a united front to tackle the economic difficulty ahead and show consumers that you’re up to the challenge.
Marketing campaigns need to be more targeted – Your customers need to be seen and heard more than ever during a recession. This is an emotionally and financially tumultuous time, you have to demonstrate that you are worth the investment.
Product development needs to be innovative – Is your company’s product inessential or easily cut from a budget? Recession-proof your business and prove your worth to consumers.
During a recession there are less competitors as lots of businesses will cut their spending, bunker down, and try to wait out the storm. But if you’re able to demonstrate to consumers that your brand is strong, innovative, and willing to evolve to suit a changing market, they will trust you far beyond the timeline of a recession. By maintaining a strong presence in consumers’ lives during a difficult time, you give them a sense of normalcy when other aspects of their lives might be in chaos.
The Emotional Persona in A Recession
Let’s take a look at an example of innovative marketing during a recession. In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Coca-Cola launched a marketing campaign that showcased the sacrifice of frontline workers and profiled modern-day heroes powered by cans of Coca-Cola. As a strong brand with the benefit of recognizability and history, Coca-Cola may have had an easier time demonstrating to the consumer that they are always there, through good and bad times. But nonetheless, it’s a worthy lesson for all brands to appeal to the collective circumstances of a pandemic or a recession.
Marketing in a recession is difficult, partly because you have to ignore your instincts and resist normal operating procedures. For instance, you’re probably used to appealing to buyer’s personas in your marketing campaigns but part of pivoting in a recession is recognizing that your personas are much more emotionally motivated than in average economic circumstances. Recognizing the vulnerability of consumers is important in realizing you can be there for them and help them through a time of difficulty and uncertainty, and this compassionate attitude will prove beneficial to your business. Recessions are a time to spend your money differently, not to quit spending money altogether. That’s how you can create a recession-proof business.
Customer Retention During a Recession
A recession is also a good time to lean back on your loyal customers. Keeping your customers happy and supporting them in continuing to purchase from your company is the key to growth under any circumstances, but especially during a recession.
Customer retention is an essential part of keeping business steady in uncertain times. Ensuring that your loyal customers feel cared for, especially during a recession, means that your customers will gain trust and respect for your business and are more likely to invest in its future.
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