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Marketing during an economic downturn

Marketing during an economic downturn
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Marketing during an economic downturn
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

The shockwaves of the COVID-19 pandemic have left the global economy on the edge of another recession. The scale of which is not yet known but a significant economic slowing seems unavoidable. In a downturn, many businesses cut back on their marketing activities. However, this has been proven to be a missed opportunity for growth once things begin to return to normal.

Why we shouldn’t cut the marketing budget: learning from the past

The most effective marketing is normally achieved with consistency and longevity.  History has proven that businesses that are prepared to invest in marketing, despite a downturn, ultimately reap the rewards.

In the 2008 recession, when many businesses scaled back, those that maintained their marketing outputs saw a 3.5x increase in brand visibility. Similar patterns occurred in 1981-82 and 1974-75.

You can and should outsource your marketing

Marketing is a specialised skill and for businesses to reap significant rewards, expertise is required. However, for many SMEs, marketing is often something an employee does in addition to their main role or by the stretched business owner. Clearly this isn’t an optimal way of working. Outsourcing the work to a marketing agency can save time, energy and leave the work in expert hands. The best agencies will integrate seamlessly into your business and you should look for those that have experience and knowledge of your industry sector.

Target recession-proof industries

Even in the toughest of recessions, there will always be certain industries that avoid harm with some even benefitting. During COVID-19, Zoom reported a revenue increase of 169% just a few months into lockdown restrictions in June 2020 with many other services seeing similar growth.

Targeting flourishing businesses and those that work in the relevant sectors should see a positive return. Tailoring marketing messaging and focussing on certain demographics will do the trick. Of course, this does depend on the type of product or service your business provides.  

Refresh or reinvent your marketing strategy

If a reduction in marketing is absolutely necessary, it could be a great time to take stock of your over-arching strategy. Running an SME often leaves management teams with little time to evaluate but using the extra resource they can look ahead. This would be a great opportunity to research potential new marketing channels or new tools and platforms to use.

Achieve more with less budget

In downturns, many of your competitors will be scaling back their marketing outputs. SMEs can use this to their advantage and ramp up in an effort to get ahead and increase market share. This will require extra resource but could be seen as a savvy investment with the potential for future growth. The increased brand awareness in a less cluttered marketplace will provide your business with a well-timed boost.

Read our related articles below for more information on how to weather economic downturns and recessions as an SME. To see how Capital Space’s flexible monthly license could support your business get in touch with our friendly team.