Worried about a potential recession? Here’s why we’re doubling down on marketing – and you should, too.
From news reports to financial experts, more and more talk of a potential recession has many business owners and professionals worried about what the future might hold.
It’s easy to get caught up in the projections and immediately turn toward panic.
Instinctively, you may want to tighten your belt and cut costs across the board.
But reacting out of fear won’t help you weather the storm.
In fact, experts actually recommend the opposite.
Keeping a cool head – and proceeding with thoughtful intention – is much more likely to help your business survive a recession and grow stronger on the other side.
Most importantly, experts caution businesses against one colossal mistake.
“When a recession hits and money is tight, businesses tend to look for ways to cut costs until the economy improves – and marketing is often first on the chopping block,” explains Forbes author Peter Boolkah. “But this is a big mistake. It tells the world that you are not open for business at a moment when you want to be communicating the opposite.”
And experts at the Harvard Business Review agree: “Companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. On average, increases in marketing spending during a recession have boosted financial performance throughout the year following the recession.”
That’s why, at SchlickArt, we’re preparing for a potential economic downturn by doubling down on our marketing efforts and customer relationships – and we think you should, too.
Here are eight ways a smart and intentional marketing plan can help you prepare for, survive, and grow through a potential economic downturn.
Why Marketing Is More Important In A Recession
1. Give people a reason to spend with you.
One of the biggest misconceptions of a recession is the thinking that everyone is going broke. Especially in a more mild downturn, however, that’s not the case.
“During a recession, the economy doesn’t grind to a halt. People are still spending money; you just need to give them good reasons to spend it with you,” writes Forbes.
While it may feel like there’s less money to go around, that doesn’t mean you stop marketing and fade into the background; it means you double-down on marketing strategies that increase your visibility and showcase your unique value. That way, the customers who understand the value of your product or service choose to spend with you.
2. Early action reinforces your value when it’s easier.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for a recession is to start marketing early – before the economy actually starts slowing down. During this critical window, customer habits and behaviors are still somewhat normal, and business is moving along as usual. Take advantage of this calm before the storm to really ramp up your marketing initiatives and solidify your place in the market.
“The best course is to stabilize the brand,” write John Quelch and Katherine E. Jocz for the Harvard Business Review. “Even cash-poor firms would be wise to commit a substantial portion of their marketing resources to reinforcing the core brand proposition. Reminding consumers of how the brand matters can add to the cushion provided by previous investments in building the brand and customer satisfaction.”
Invest up front to feel less of an impact later on.
3. Retaining your most loyal customers ensures stability.
When a recession hits, your loyal customers are your biggest asset. You’ve already laid the groundwork to establish a strong relationship of trust and value, so it will be easier to retain them than it will be to find new customers and start the cycle over. That’s why your oldest and best customers are also your surest shot at stability in times of crisis.
“During recessions it’s more important than ever to remember that loyal customers are the primary, enduring source of cash flow and organic growth,” writes the Harvard Business review. “Marketing to them isn’t optional – it’s a ‘good cost,’ essential to bringing in revenues from these key customers and others.”
4. Widen your audience to cushion your losses.
As you work to retain your most long-standing and loyal customers, it’s wise to run a secondary campaign that expands your audience at the same time. By securing your most important customers and increasing your exposure to new ones, you’ll cover both bases in the order of importance that matches your goals.
“You will likely lose some of your current customers, which means you need to step up your marketing to attract new customers,” writes Forbes. “When the market eventually recovers and we re-enter a period of expansion, you will be well-positioned to grow with their business. Not only will you be able to reclaim the market share you lost, you’ll be able to increase it.”
5. Visibility equals strength.
The best way to strengthen your relationships with both new and long-standing customers is to increase your visibility. Remind people you’re there. Tell them what you stand for. Demonstrate how you can add value to their lives. Do so by running your marketing campaign across multiple platforms to establish a hold on the market.
“Building and maintaining strong brands – ones that customers recognize and trust – remains one of the best ways to reduce business risk,” writes the Harvard Business Review. “The stock prices of companies with strong brands, such as Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson, have held up better in recessions than those of large consumer product companies with less well-known brands.”
Visibility creates trust. Trust builds strength. Strong brands survive even in the toughest of economies.
6. Seize the opportunity to reinforce relationships.
When times get tough, customers look to you for help, support and solutions. They look to you for reassurance in the areas where you hold expertise. They want to trust that you can provide some kind of normalcy and comfort.
That’s why messaging matters so much during an economic downturn. If you can connect with your customers now – and meet their needs when they need it most – then you’ll solidify that relationship for years to come.
“Worried consumers see familiar, trusted brands and products as a safe and comforting choice in trying times,” writes the Harvard Business Review. “Reassuring messages that reinforce an emotional connection with the brand and demonstrate empathy (for example, by conveying a sense that ‘we’re going to get through this together’) are vital.”
7. The market is less saturated than ever.
One of the unique benefits of a recession is the lack of voices clamoring to be heard. Many businesses will pull back their marketing efforts. Some will close their doors. Others will simply peel back their presence as they focus on the bottom line. For a number of reasons, your marketing efforts will stand out more in a recession than they ever have before.
“At the height of an economic expansion, everybody is marketing. Costs go through the roof, and you have to fight for people’s attention in a crowded marketplace,” writes Forbes. “In a recession, however, marketing space becomes plentiful and affordable as competition plummets. Many companies are cutting back on marketing, so you can spend far less to reach more people with your message.”
8. You’ll grow after the recession too.
By taking the steps to strengthen your customer relationships, brand visibility, marketing campaigns and targeted messaging, you’ll not only be better positioned to survive a recession, but you’ll also be better positioned to hit the ground running when the economy recovers. As people begin to ramp up their spending post-recession, your brand will already have an established presence when others fell silent.
“Use this time to build relationships and trust with your new customer base,” writes Forbes. “When the market eventually recovers and we re-enter a period of expansion, you will be well-positioned to grow. Not only will you be able to reclaim the market share you lost, you’ll be able to increase it.”
How We Can Help
We’re following this same advice ourselves. (Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean we’ll be sending you more emails or filling up your inbox, we promise.) We’re taking a strategic look at how we can support our most valued clients, help you solve problems, and support you as you navigate an uncertain future, too.
We’re not going anywhere, and we want you to know that we’re here to help. That’s how we’ve always promised to add value to your lives and businesses, and we will continue to do so no matter what kind of economic climate lies ahead.
It’s always been your support, your encouragement and your passion that drives us. We simply hope to repay the favor by learning to support you however we can.
Got a marketing question? Need to run some ideas past another passionate business owner? Give us a call at 661-313-3907. We’re always here to listen.
Visual Marketing In Santa Clarita
At SchlickArt, we offer more than photography and video services to the Santa Clarita area and beyond. We do our best to provide our clients with marketing expertise and direction every chance we get. We know you need your images and video to help grow your business — that’s why you invest in them, and that’s why we do, too. Please take a minute to search through our blogs to find the visual marketing information that will help your business, or give us a call. We’re happy to help!
About SchlickArt Photography and Video
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.