Why Maintain Your Marketing During a Recession: Strategies for Sales Success

Marketing puzzle showing the complexities of a marketing plan or strategy

In times of economic uncertainty, businesses try to reduce their spending as much as possible and often consider cutting back on marketing. However, this can be a short-sighted approach that can ultimately harm your business’s bottom line. Our digital marketing experts at Savvy Search Marketing would like to explore why maintaining your marketing during a recession is crucial for long-term success and provide you with some practical strategies for doing so.

Why is Marketing Important During a Recession?

It’s true that during a recession, consumers become more selective about where they spend their hard-earned cash. This will most likely affect the bottom line of most businesses that will be looking to maintain their profit margins by cutting costs or expenses, especially, in areas they don’t consider vital or productive like marketing. As a result, according to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, businesses that fail to maintain a visible and compelling marketing presence risk losing sales to competitors. By contrast, businesses that continue to invest in marketing can maintain or even increase market share, build customer loyalty, and emerge from the recession in a stronger position.

Strategies for Maintaining Marketing During a Recession

Today, a large number of small to midsize businesses rely on digital marketing which does not bind them to the long and expensive contracts of tv, radio and print campaigns. It is much easier to reduce your spending or focus it more effectively on the customers that will provide the highest return on your marketing investment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses pivoted to digital advertising and social media marketing, taking advantage of lower costs and increased online traffic.

Digital marketing makes good business sense since people spend more time online trying to find ways to cope with the recession. This can provide your business with an opportunity to build your brand awareness and when your customers are ready to spend again, they will have you in mind.   

Maintaining Visibility and Brand Awareness

One of the most important reasons to maintain your marketing during a recession is to maintain visibility and brand awareness. If you disappear from the market, you’ll be out of sight and out of mind for your customers. In today’s digital age, there are so many businesses vying for consumers’ attention, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. By maintaining your digital marketing efforts, you can stay top of mind and ensure that your brand remains visible and relevant. 

During the 2008 financial crisis, Amazon continued to invest heavily in marketing and advertising, which helped them to gain market share from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers who were cutting back on their marketing budgets. It actually managed to achieve 28% growth!

Keeping Your Customers Engaged

It should be expected that during a recession, consumers will more cautious with their spending. They’re looking for the best value for their money and are more likely to do research before making a purchase. By maintaining your marketing efforts and offering new pricing that will be adjusted to satisfy their budgets, you can keep your customers engaged and informed about your products or services. This can help build trust and loyalty, which can ultimately lead to more sales during the recession and even greater profits after the recession is over.

By prioritizing customer engagement and retention, you can maintain revenue streams even if new customer acquisition slows down. Consider developing loyalty programs or other incentives that encourage repeat purchases, and prioritize customer service to ensure that your existing customers feel valued and supported. This is what Starbucks did during the 2008 financial crisis. Starbucks continued to offer its rewards program and provide free Wi-Fi to customers, which helped to build loyalty and increase customer retention.

Adapt Messaging to Current Circumstances

Finally, it’s important to adapt your marketing messaging to the current economic climate. During a recession, consumers may be more focused on value and cost savings, so emphasize these benefits in your marketing materials. Additionally, consider addressing any concerns or fears that customers may have about the economy, and position your products or services as a solution to these concerns.

Reassess Your Marketing Strategy and Prepare for the Future

During a recession, it’s important to review your marketing strategy and identify areas where you can optimize your spending. Look for opportunities to reduce costs without sacrificing results, such as by focusing on high-ROI campaigns or cutting back on non-essential marketing expenses.

What’s more, maintaining your marketing during a recession can help you to prepare for the future. When the economy eventually rebounds, businesses that have continued to invest in the promotion of their brand will be better positioned to take advantage of the upswing. By continuing to build your brand, generate leads, and engage with your customers, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success. This strategy was applied by Hyundai in 2008 by continuing to invest in advertising and launching its Assurance Program, which allowed customers to return their vehicles if they lost their jobs. This helped to build brand loyalty and increase sales once the economy recovered.

Focus on ROI-Driven Campaigns

During a recession, it’s essential to focus on marketing campaigns that deliver a high return on investment (ROI). This might mean reallocating resources from less effective campaigns to those that are generating the most revenue. Additionally, consider investing in digital marketing channels (e.g. Google Ads or any other form of Pay-Per-Click advertising), which tend to offer better targeting and measurement capabilities than traditional ones like print, radio, and television.

Target New Audience Segments

During a recession, some demographic groups may become more or less likely to buy your products or services. By identifying and targeting new audience segments, you can potentially offset any losses in your traditional customer base. This might involve developing new products or services that appeal to a different demographic, or tailoring your marketing messaging to resonate with a new audience.

Final Thoughts

By maintaining your marketing during a recession, you can position your business for long-term success. By reassessing your strategy, focusing on ROI-driven campaigns, targeting new audience segments, emphasizing customer retention, and adapting your messaging to current circumstances, you can continue to drive sales and build your brand even during uncertain economic times. 

Remember, investing in marketing is an investment in your business’s future. While it can be tempting to cut back on it during a recession, doing so can ultimately harm your business’s long-term success. By implementing the strategies we outlined, you can maintain a strong marketing presence even during an economic downturn. By remaining flexible, focusing on ROI, and adapting to changing circumstances, you can continue to drive sales and build your brand.

If you would like to learn more about how Savvy Search Marketing can help your business during difficult economic times, contact us online or call us at 1-855-488-0988 today. Our full-service digital marketing agency provides a satisfaction-guaranteed service designed to maintain your online presence no matter what your budget is. Ready to take your marketing to the next level and dominate online? Contact Savvy Search Marketing to book your FREE SEM/SEO consultation and evaluation today!

Savvas Kyriakides is a passionate entrepreneur and Digital Marketing Strategist. His ability to quickly grasp and understand many different business models and verticals combined with his passion for digital marketing and strategy, enables him and his team to execute sharp, focused and measurable action plans for Savvy clients.

Savvas is a keen chess player, having played chess at international level as a student and young adult. This included participation in three World Chess Olympiads and a World Chess Junior Championship. Savvas has applied his chess skills involving strategy, focus, concentration and understanding of the competition to digital marketing. Every move is connected and measurable.