It’s Going To Be Okay: The Rules To Marketing In A Recession

Across the country and around the world, businesses of all sizes are staring down some big challenges. The biggest is one of those we-dare-not-speak-its-name hurdles that tend to crop up every decade or so. It starts with an ‘r’ and ends with stress, anxiety, and, yes, a silver lining of opportunity. 

Folks, we’re rolling downhill into a recession. *GASP*. And as scary as that sounds, it’s also a chance to take a long, hard look at your business and that intangible value that matters now more than ever; your brand. 

Economists have spent countless hours examining the habits of consumers during previous periods of economic downturn. No matter how far back you go, there are some consistent patterns that always take shape. As a rule, consumers look to tighten their proverbial belts. That’s a challenge, but it’s important to remember that everyone has to spend money, and even in tough times, that purchasing power will still find a way to include more than just the basics. The goal should be to brand or product that still has a home in the family budget. 

To help, we’ve put together a few general themes to help you buckle up for the bumpy ride and come through it stronger and more competitive than ever. 

Be The Good News. We’ve made four paragraphs without mentioning the real cause of the recession, and that’s something as weighty, tragic, and sensitive as a global pandemic. That adds another degree to everything your brand does over the next six months. Understand that every audience in every industry is anxious, stressed, and uncertain. You can do a lot for your customers by being the source of positivity. Be the break from the non-stop bad news. By offering your following a shining light to follow, you become a presence that establishes itself as being able to lead the way. Your customers need to hear that we’re all going to get through this. 

Get Into Their Headspace. Priorities have changed. Instead of identity, luxury, or utility, the average consumer will function on one principle priority: value. This is often a time where perceived value brands get an edge. Wal-Mart, for example, typically performs well when there is economic strife. You don’t have to play the price war, but you do need to invest more time in promotions and short-term incentives that balance driving sales and encouraging repeat shoppers with protecting the brand equity you’ve built up. 

Warm And Fuzzy. Off-color, off-beat marketing can come off as insensitive in certain industries in the best of times, but with millions of Americans dealing with unemployment and health scares, there’s little room to risk offending your tribe. Even worse, scare tactics are both tasteless and ineffective. Look at the toilet paper hoarding; people can panic themselves and don’t need your help. Instead, focus on unity and the family. Be the brand that values the simple pleasures, the joy of time spent with family, and staying connected with those we care about, even if it’s over the phone or on a computer. 

Don’t Stop Marketing. At so many companies, brands often hack away at the marketing budget the moment things get dicey. That’s the opposite of what they should do. Now more than ever, consumers need a good reason to buy, and it’s marketing that gives them that good reason. If anything, creating demand and interest in your brand offers even more rewards during a recession because other companies may actually cut spending. That means you get more out of your efforts than ever, and exactly when you need it the most. Focus on market share and structure both messaging, campaigns, and promotions to encourage repeat spending to keep your cash flow going. Rebates are a proven way to get that customer in today and back tomorrow. 

Be Creative. That’s our thing. Great marketing comes down to communicating and connecting. The more connections we can create through different platforms, the more reasons a customer will have to rely on our clients as an expert, as a resource, and a commitment. 

Things are going to be tough now, but what companies do over the next six months can have a big impact on where they are when we all come out on the other side. 

Contact us today and let’s get started!