How to Market in the Middle of Recession

By Michael Tasner | Business Marketing Tips

Apr 16
Recession

Today’s topic is this: What am I personally advising my clients to do? What are we doing for clients so that you can start to get some insight into some things that you want to really start to think about?

So a couple of disclaimers before I jump in and start telling you a little bit about what we’re executing. First, I’ve never experienced anything like this in my lifetime. Now, granted, I’m not that old. I’m in my mid 30s. But, I mean, I’ve lived through September 11, for example, we’ve lived through a recession. I’ve been through challenging times and when things have been uncertain, but I’ve never seen it where things are just magically shutting around, shutting down, just everything around us is just closing. I live in New York State. I mean, they’re shutting down – bars and restaurants and things like that. So it’s not something that I’ve experienced. So obviously, there are going to be some industries and some types of local businesses that are going to get slammed during these next couple of weeks, or months. The other disclaimer is, I have absolutely no idea how things are going to play out much like all of you everything that we’re doing is day by day. 

But the stuff I’m going to give you is more overarching strategies that we know are going to work whether we’re in this for another week or another six months or longer. I’m going to give you kind of what we’re very, very rapidly pivoting to. 

The first thing that we’re doing is we’re realizing that this is probably one of the biggest opportunities that we have ever seen. And what I mean by that is, everyone else is panicking. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be preparing yourself and that everything is made up and no way. Am I saying any of that? I was one of those that definitely started. I mean hoarding food and, and hoarding things and etc. Not as bad I think as some people but surely started stocking up on something. 

But while everyone else is really panicking, I see a big opportunity. And I see a big opportunity for a couple of reasons. 

  • The first one is advertising costs are already starting to go down. So any marketing and advertising that I’m doing for my business for our clients, it’s going to be less expensive, because there are some businesses that are literally just shutting everything off. You do not want to start stopping everything and putting a halt. That is not what we’re doing. We have not advised any of our clients to stop anything whatsoever. We just have not advised that at all. 
  • The other piece is this whole pullback and people are kind of becoming quite conservative. What I’m looking for you to do is to understand and this was in the Harvard Business Review, and I’m going to quote something and I rarely quote things. “Companies that were able to increase their share of voice by maintaining or increasing their advertising spend captured market share from their weaker rivals. What’s more, they did at a lower cost when times were good.”

So on average, increases in marketing spend during a recession have boosted financial performance throughout the year following the recession. You can really pull back or you can push forward and we’re advising all of our clients to push forward, we’re looking for our clients to lean forward. Because again, you can now grab more of that market share at a much cheaper cost. 

  • Now the other piece is I’m going to suggest that they pivot the advertising that we’re doing to more education. So regardless of the industry that you’re in, people are looking for education at this very moment. You can take more of that thought leadership perspective. 

For example, you can take more of a kind of giving them that calm voice when everyone else is playing panicking, and just keeping them posted on things, keeping them posted on what’s going down in your business, for example, but you want to make sure that you’re continuing to keep that Sherif voice. And you want to make sure that you’re continuing to modify and tweak the types of advertising that you’re doing to make sure that it actually fits the existing times. 

Now, the other thing is, we’ve pivoted almost all of the marketing that we’re doing 100% over to digital. So while I’m a digital marketing agency, and that is where we focus, we also help with and partner with other companies to help our clients with things like postcards and billboards and radio, and direct mail and different things like that. We’ve realized and have been seeing a pretty big uptick because people are staying home. They’re sitting around their houses more, what else do they have to do? So now they’re going to social media. They’re looking at all the different news sites and things like that. So we’re capitalizing on all of that so that our clients’ brands are still front and center. But again, we’re modifying the language that’s being used. 

So you’re not running restaurant ads, for example, telling people to come in knowing that later today, like eight o’clock, or whatever the time is, maybe it’s even effective now that restaurants are no longer allowed to be open, other than doing delivery and takeout. We’ve got to tweak that message. We’re going to have the message reflect accordingly. The chiropractors that we’re working with, if people don’t want to leave their house, we need to talk about how chiropractic can help with your immune system, for example. So it’s changing the messaging around but we’re advising our clients to continue to market during this uncertain time.

Because it’s getting cheaper.

I don’t want to use the word easier because it’s not necessarily getting easier. But it’s becoming quicker in terms of approval. And we’re finding that the prospects and customers that are seeing those ads, they’re seeing it more as kind of news-ish. And they’re grateful that they’re being kept up to date because there’s so much misinformation right now. 

And if it’s coming from you and your business, then it’s going to be much more well received than it is just a random something in the newspaper or something like that. 

We’re encouraging them to play with the messaging. We’re also encouraging them to shoot video posts more actively in social media, do some more email marketing blasts to their current prospects and customers. And obviously be prepared to be doing everything remotely but that’s the beautiful thing with digital is that you can continue to grab the market share and grab everything that you need 100% digitally you can continue to drive leads, you can continue to keep your brand front and center. 

The last thing that you want to do is completely pull back. Continue investing, keep your market share, but pivot your message.

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