7 Tips for Marketing in a Recession

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7 Tips for Marketing in a Recession

Every business owner dreads recessions because they come with lower profitability and the possibility of needing to implement cost-cutting measures including letting some of their employees go. Another thing that makes them so dreadful is the fact that every recession is different and businesses have to adapt differently to each one. However, businesses can research the successes and failures of businesses in previous recessions, mix that with what they have learned, and at least be able to weather a recession. But, what about marketing? Changing customer behaviors can make business owners think they will lose money marketing during a recession. That is not necessarily true. Here are some tips to help get the best results when marketing in such difficult conditions.

Review Your Marketing Channels and Campaign Performances

The first thing you should do is take a closer look at how everything is doing. This will entail taking a closer look at your marketing channels and campaigns to see which ones are performing well, which ones can be optimized to perform better, and which ones are not performing well at all.

You should then focus on those that are working well and those that can improve with a bit of effort. Campaigns that are already not performing are unlikely to in a recession, and they will end up taking precious resources from other important campaigns and channels.

Understand Customer Priorities

You cannot market to someone unless you understand what they are willing to spend their money on, and what would convince them to spend that money. This is especially true in a recession where every dollar matters.

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Customer data and market analysis are your best tools for understanding customer priorities. Keep an eye on changing trends and news, and use the available tools to make market predictions. Also, communicate with your current and potential customers to find out how prevailing market conditions are affecting them.

Gain useful insight using polls, surveys, and sales conversions as well as how customers interact with the business and its products or services. This will put you in a much better position to start crafting a targeted marketing campaign that takes their needs, concerns, and challenges into consideration.

Market To Existing Customers

Acquiring new customers is much harder and more expensive than retaining existing ones. While specific circumstances might allow it, a recession is not the time to acquire new customers but instead to market to existing ones.

A loyal customer base is one of your most important assets during a recession as you know it is much easier and cheaper to market to them. Additionally, the ROI is likely to be much better because they know your business, have bought from you once, and are therefore more likely to do it again.

Let your customer base know you appreciate them by reaching out through appreciative emails, providing reasonable discounts, and reaching out in other ways. While it might seem like you are spending money to do so, these customers are likely to keep you in business during the recession and even recommend you to prospective customers if you treat them right.

Invest in Content Marketing

The fear of a recession sees many businesses rush to cut their budgets. When they do, there is decreased competition all around because one of the first departments to see such cuts is the marketing department. With decreased competition in the digital marketing space, businesses that keep at it stand to gain a lot. How?

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Content typically ranks better when fewer people are working on content marketing and SEO improvements. This makes it much easier to deliver compelling content to your audience and other interested parties. This leads to an increase in website traffic as well as increased interest in your business.

The cost of content marketing in a recession is relatively low due to low competition, but the rewards are massive due to the same reason.  Invest in content marketing to reap the benefits of a market that is mostly wide open to be taken advantage of.

Lean On Your Strong Brand

Even with low competition in the market, you still need to convince people to convert which is much harder in a recession. What you can do is lean on the strong brand you have already created. People know your brand and will continue to engage with it if you know what type of content to put out.

Have a monthly marketing plan in place and ensure it includes different marketing strategies for different audiences and channels. Remember that your marketing efforts need not be expensive during a recession but consistent.

Leaning on your strong brand will help you stay relevant and in the minds of your customers without you having to spend as much as you used to.

See What Your Competition Are Doing

Remember that you are always fighting to convert the same customers as your competitors, which becomes incredibly important in a recession. While you are making changes to your strategies and strategizing, you can expect that your competitors are doing the same.

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Have a look into them to see how they are responding. See if they have done things like cut their marketing and advertising budgets, how they are communicating with their audiences and customers, and what marketing strategies they are bullish on.

If there are subdued marketing efforts from your competitors, this could either be a sign for you to push ahead or to slow down because they see something coming that you do not yet see. Do your research to see which of the two is true and then act accordingly.

Make Your Value Propositions Clear

Stability is crucial for buyers during a recession. They want to know what they will get for every dollar they spend during economic downturns. Cautious buyers will respond to value propositions that are clear and easy for them to understand.

Show them how your products or services empower them, fulfill their needs, and help them overcome challenges. Communicating your value recession as early as possible is best.


While scaling back might seem like a logical thing to do during a recession. It could also be a time to take initiative to gain market and customer share. Having a marketing strategy for a recession while always learning from the successes and failures of past businesses is a good idea.