Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative consultancy. DWCCA provides digital marketing services to SMEs and large enterprises.
According to the International Monetary Fund October 2022 World Economic Outlook Report, global growth is expected to decline from 3.2% to 2.7% in 2023. This has led many people to expect a global recession in the coming months. For many companies, this can be a very bleak prospect to start the new year. But should it be?
When recession fears begin to weigh down our day-to-day decision-making as business owners, perhaps the first idea that comes to mind is to cut costs and interrupt initiatives and efforts that were originally planned. I’ve worked in my fair share of marketing companies over the years and I’ve seen how marketing often tops the list of items to cut back on. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Marketing is a need, not a wish.
As marketers, a looming recession presents an opportunity to rethink our marketing strategies, rebalance team efforts, and refocus on ways we engage with customers for the long haul. While we cannot control the highs and lows of the global economy, we can adapt our strategies and adjust the way we market our products and services to weather the storm.
Marketing is often seen as negotiable. But in a world drowning in consumer advertising and vast amounts of information, cutting through the noise is more important than ever. Just think: how does your prospect know to come to you for what they need in this time of uncertainty?
Two keys to a recession-ready marketing strategy
When it comes to your marketing strategy, it’s important to pivot rather than give up. If your marketing budget is too high to begin with, there is no doubt that you need to trim it. But if you eliminate it, you will only lose your ability to keep the victories you have achieved so far. So it’s important to focus on two main strategies.
1. Keep it simple.
Recessions are a great time to find ways to keep your marketing initiatives simple. Determine new ways to recalibrate your approach, but be sure to stick with what has worked for the past six to 12 months or more. Add a few related experiments where you’ll be using A/B testing in the coming months. Then focus your attention on the handful that will give you the highest output.
Just as any savvy investor would probably adjust money in their investment portfolio during a recession, savvy marketers are better off reallocating their budgets and resources in a market where buyers tend to have more control over their money. You only take steps backwards if you switch off marketing completely.
2. Take advantage of market drop-offs.
When your competitors choose to drop ship and leave the market (and some of them will), that’s your chance to gain exposure to a new audience.
It’s easy to leave a playbook that doesn’t seem to work anymore. But successful marketers will evolve creatively and find ways to create a new approach. For example, if you’re heavy on content, consider developing a repurposing plan. Update or convert old content to a new format, such as a podcast, infographic, or video, and take it to a new market. Whatever you come up with, the playbook of the future will be the one you create in times of uncertainty.
The discipline and consistency you develop around marketing strategy and execution in a time of economic downturn will serve you extremely well when the economy recovers. When buyers feel uncertain about what’s to come and other companies interrupt their efforts, the marketers of the future will lean on those frustrations. This will help them build loyalty and trust with customers and set an example for their peers to follow in the long run.