Marketing is often one of the first things to go when the economy takes a turn for the worse. Many executives think they can’t justify the extra spending when money gets tight, and it seems like a logical place to cut back. After all, cutting marketing strategies like ad spend is simple and does not involve any changes to product or personnel. It might seem like aggressively slashing marketing budgets is the best way to weather the storm.
However, there are considerable advantages to staying the course and investing in marketing during a downturn. As long as a business is smart about how it utilizes its marketing budget, a down economy can present some promising potential. Here are a few ways to make the most of the silver linings in a weak market.
When competitors are pulling back, putting more emphasis on advertising can increase your market share. While that increase is obviously helpful in the short term, these gains during a weak economy tend to continue even after a recession has faded. On top of their long lasting nature, those increases in market share are going to come a lot cheaper in the middle of a down economy than at the height of a roaring one. This strategy turns the uncertainty of a downturn into an opportunity.
A common theme here is to think about the long term — set the business up for success once the current lull passes. Companies who do not focus on marketing in the bad times continue to see worse growth in the good ones.
Think of marketing as an investment
Assets like your business’s website, social media presence and any other long-term marketing tools are so much more than a one-time cost. A healthy and growing digital presence is something that will gain value over time.
Take email marketing, for example. Setting up an automation system, designing good templates and building an email list are all things that will serve an organization for a long time, spanning far past the end of a financially difficult period.
Make marketing count
Although it is true that continuing to market your company during an economic downturn is a good idea, the way you do that is equally as important. As previously mentioned, investing in brand assets that are going to appreciate over time, like a website or other long-term marketing tools, is one strategy. Another is to pivot toward the changing needs of your target market in light of the more difficult financial circumstances.
Considering the consumer’s mindset is always paramount when marketing a service or product, but an economic downturn introduces some new complications. Some people and industries are more affected by the changing tides than others, and this will impact their willingness to buy. How your core base perceives your offerings is also an important factor — are they essential or more expendable? Tailoring a marketing plan to those economy-specific considerations can help bring success in troubled times, both locking down a stable base in the short term while setting the company up for success in the long term when the economy swings back again.