Why Marketing Matters During a Recession

Why Marketing Matters During a Recession


Learn how to optimize your marketing during a recession

In a recession, the urge is for companies to cut their marketing budgets and roll back their marketing strategies. This is a mistake.

When you do this, you slowly but surely disappear. This hurts your brand image, erodes customer loyalty, and weakens customer confidence in your brand, products, and services.

This is not what you want in a recession. When the competition for customer dollars is tight, you need to stand out, be available and accessible, and remind customers why they need and want you.

Strategic marketing during a recession can help you grow your brand, build customer loyalty, and solidify your competitive advantage.

We were around in 2009 for the last great recession and were able to successfully navigate our clients through this time. Many companies tend to want to cut their marketing budget first during a market downturn, however we disagree.

We like to remind our clients of this Warren Buffett quote, “be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful”.” Jane Phelps, Know Agency CEO/Founder

Why Marketing Matters During a Recession

Out of sight – out of mind. The more you tell, the more you sell. Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.

These marketing quotes encapsulate why marketing matters during a recession.

During a recession, your customers are questioning how and why they spend their money.

For even your most committed customers, if they don’t see or hear from you – you are forgotten – you will be out of sight and out of mind.

Marketing during a recession is the best way to remind customers why they need your products and services and to reinforce that your company is here for the long-term, ready, and able to support them.

As you assess your marketing strategy and meet with colleagues to discuss how to survive a recession, remember these three core reasons why marketing matters during a recession:

  1. Marketing establishes your expertise: during a recession, establishing your expertise and authority and building customer trust is essential.Strategic marketing that includes blog and social media content, organic and paid search strategies, and an easy-to-read website that answers customer questions, addresses their concerns, and showcases how you help customers is key to solidifying your leadership and customer value.
  2. Marketing is your education tool: people are tired right now – the pandemic, global issues, and now a recession mean your customers don’t have the energy to research and hunt for answers to their questions.Strategic marketing that includes clear content that educates, informs, empathizes, and meets your customers where they are right now is key to helping you stand out from your competitors. When you create content or do keyword research, ask yourself – how will this help my customers? How does this address their needs within the customer journey?
  3. Marketing reinforces your industry authority: you need to stand out from your competitors. The good news is, many of your competitors will choose to cut their marketing budgets – meaning they will disappear and quickly be forgotten.This is your opportunity to stand-out and show your customers why your brand is the best (and only) choice. Use your email newsletters, blog content, social media posts, whitepapers, videos, and paid search ads to remind customers that you’re here, available, and the expert in your industry. Done right, you’ll strengthen your brand awareness and customer loyalty and gain new customers.

Companies who choose to cut their marketing strategies during a recession are making a classic mistake… they are neglecting how short-term success pays off in the long-term.

The SEO and marketing decisions you make now will reap rewards today and in the future.

Do You Know Your Customers?

You always need to know your customers – their challenges, interests, questions, demographics, and buying patterns. However, during a recession this information is more critical than ever.

How well do you know your customers? Do you know how a recession impacts their buying decisions, lifestyle, and comfortability with risk? What questions are they asking Google? How have their priorities changed?

Regardless of your industry and niche, the recession is an opportunity to remind people why they need you and how you can help them.

Think back to the peak of the pandemic – supplement sales were skyrocketing, sports stores could not stock enough bicycles, kayaks, and outdoor gear, and people missed the small luxuries in life like visiting a coffee shop, going out for a meal, or traveling.

And now, two and half years later, supplement sales are still booming, people are still buying outdoor gear, and keen to meet with friends and return to their favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and destinations.

The habits developed during the pandemic have stuck. And the same will happen with this recession. And this is exactly why you need to be visible, accessible, relevant, and present right now. The recession will end, and you need your brand, products, and services to be top of mind.

Companies should focus even more on their return on investment in ad spend, however, they should keep their marketing spend the same, if not increase it. Why? Because their competition, will most likely pull back their budgets.

Now the competition is less, you can increase the number of eyes on your brand. It also shows company stability, a trait consumers desperately need during downturn times.

We encourage our clients to keep their share of voice strong during downturns to stay ahead of the game and to be even more successful when this is over.” Jane Phelps, Know Agency CEO/Founder

How to Optimize Your Marketing During a Recession

To optimize your marketing during a recession, you need to connect and resonate with your customers. This happens online – in search engine results, website content, social media posts, and with organic and paid search strategies.

Remember these five keys to optimizing your marketing during a recession:

  1. Review your keywords. Your keywords are always changing based on what customers are searching for. Update your target keywords to mesh with search intent and how you can best help customers.
  2. Stay active on social media. Brand trust and visibility is critical during a recession. Social media content that addresses search intent and the customer journey can help you connect. Many companies will cut their social media strategies, so this is your chance to maintain and strengthen your visibility.
  3. Update your content strategy. New keywords and search intent mean you need to update your content strategy. The content plans you made in January no longer fit. Build your content strategy around your new keywords, customer search intent, where you fit in the customer journey, and your brand goals and mission.
  4. Keep communicating with your customers. Do not abandon your email newsletter. Do not stop posting blog content. Do not disappear from social media. You need to be seen and heard. Your customers expect to receive your newsletter, to read your blog posts, and to learn from you on social media. When you stop this communication – you erode brand trust and expertise and are quickly forgotten.
  5. Review your paid search strategy. You have new keywords. Customer search intent has changed. It’s important you update your pay-per-click ads and landing pages to reflect these changes. Make the most of your paid search budget with a relevant and focused paid search strategy.

Your marketing priority needs to be focused on being the go-to choice for your customers. Be available. Be seen. Be heard. Know your customers. Understand their challenges. Give them what they need.

When you do this, you become the trusted and reliable brand – the company people relied on during tough times and ultimately the company people coming back to during good times.

Contact us to learn how you can be the brand that stands out and how to maximize your marketing budget during a recession. You can trust us to be honest and to give you marketing solutions that pay off in the short- and long-term.

About the author
Kayla Heigelmann is the Director of SEO at Know Agency. As the Director of SEO, Kayla leads the development and execution of client strategy to deliver organic presence and online success. Kayla guides clients through all aspects of the SEO lifecycle, from keyword research to site audits, and aims to educate those new to the digital community. Kayla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from one of the nation’s top journalism schools, Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps.

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