How To Build A Marketing Strategy Amid Recession Fears

Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency. DWCCA offers digital marketing services to SMBs and enterprise companies.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s October 2022 World Economic Outlook report, global growth is predicted to fall from 3.2% to 2.7% in 2023. This raises many people’s expectations that there will be a global recession in the next several months. For many businesses, this can feel like a very bleak outlook going into the new year. But should it be?

When recession fears start to weigh on our everyday decision-making as business owners, the first idea that comes to mind might be to cut costs and pause initiatives and efforts originally planned. Having worked in my share of marketing companies over the years, I’ve seen how marketing is often at the top of the list of items to get cut. But it doesn’t have to be this way always.

Marketing is a need, not a want.

As marketers, an impending recession presents an opportunity to rethink our marketing strategies, rebalance team efforts and refocus on ways we connect with customers for the long term. While we cannot control the highs and lows of the global economy, we can pivot 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 that’s drowning in consumer advertising and massive amounts of information, cutting through the noise is more important than ever before. Just think: How will your potential customer know to come to you for what they need in their 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. Now, if your marketing budget is inflated to begin with, there’s no question that you should trim it. But eliminating it is only going to cause you to lose your ability to maintain the wins you’ve gained to this point. So, it’s important to focus on two main strategies.

1. Keep it simple.

Recessions are a useful time to find ways to keep your marketing initiatives simple. Determine new ways to recalibrate your approach, but be sure to stick to what’s been working for the last six to 12 months or longer. Include a few related experiments where you utilize A/B testing over the next few months. Then, direct your focus on the handful that will give you the highest output.

Just like any smart investor would likely readjust monies within their investment portfolio during a downturn, smart marketers are better off reallocating their budgets and resources in a market where buyers tend to hold a tighter grip on their cash. You only take steps backward if you eliminate marketing altogether.

2. Capitalize on drop-offs in the market.

When your competitors choose to jump ship and get out of the market (and some of them will), that’s your opportunity to gain exposure to new audiences.

It’s easy to abandon a playbook that seems like it’s no longer working. But successful marketers will creatively evolve and find ways to create a new approach. For example, if you’re heavy on content, consider developing a repurposing plan. Update old content or convert it to a new format—like a podcast, infographic or video—and push it to a new market. Whatever you come up with, the playbook of the future will be the one you create during times of uncertainty.

The discipline and consistency you develop around a marketing strategy and execution during a time of economic downturn will serve you extraordinarily well when the economy recovers. When buyers are feeling uncertain about what’s to come and other businesses are putting a pause on their efforts, the marketers of the future will lean into those frustrations. This will help them cement loyalty and trust among customers, as well as set an example for their peers to follow for the long term.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?