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Four reasons not to cut your marketing budget in a recession

A report published by TD Economics last month indicated that the current recession in Alberta is likely to be one of the most severe the province has ever faced.

The first reaction of most businesses in a recession is to cut, cut, cut. Cut jobs, cut overheads, cut marketing budgets. However, companies that curtail their marketing during an economic downturn because they believe no one will be buying what they’re selling are actually jeopardizing their long-term market share. Consistent and persistent marketing is the only kind that is truly effective.

So while those around you are tightening their budgets and reducing their marketing activities, here are four good reasons why you should ramp up your marketing during a recession: 

Keep Existing Clients

Your biggest asset during a downturn is your existing customer base. It’s cheaper, easier, and more effective to retain current clients than it is to win news ones. In fact, depending on which study you read, acquiring new leads can be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing clients. Keep your most loyal clients happy by letting them know you appreciate their business because they are your champions – the ones who make repeat purchases, retain your services, and recommend you to other prospects.

Increase Your Voice

Marketing through a recession means there’s not as much “marketing noise,” so you don’t need to shout as loud for your message to be heard. However, to keep the momentum going and your audience engaged, develop a plan that has something happening every month by combining several activities, such as blog posts, emails, newsletters, PR, and advertisements (they don’t have to be expensive activities).

Survival of the Fittest

Another reason to maintain a high profile in the marketplace during a recession is the perception of strength. Your continued presence during tough financial times will be interpreted by your clients and prospects as a sign of stability, showing you are strong enough to survive the recession and have the leadership to continue to thrive. Reducing your marketing presence leaves the door wide open for competitors to take advantage and fill the gap.

Manage Your Message

Your marketing plan should be updated regularly; particularly as market and economic conditions change.  You want to avoid generating resentment, so it’s essential you fine tune your message to be sensitive to the mood of your clients and prospects. That’s not to say you need to start cutting your prices and offering big discounts. Instead, use messaging that empowers your audience and builds a strong emotional bond. An analysis of nearly 880 case studies published by the World Advertising Research Centre shows that advertising campaigns that focus on emotional engagement tend to be more profitable than campaigns that focus on rational messages (such as low prices or special offers), even when times are tough.

As the current recession facing Alberta is anticipated to last at least two years, it is likely going to be some time before we see a significant upswing in the economy. The benefits of maintaining a high profile in the marketplace tend to compound over time, so staying committed to marketing during challenging times will not only prevent you from falling behind your competitors but will also allow you to be better positioned for the rise in business when conditions improve.

The best time for marketing is right now!

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