When the Going Gets Tough, Where Should You Focus Your Marketing Efforts?

Should we brace for marketing during a recession? Bloomberg Economics says there’s close to a three-in-four recession probability by 2024. Economists at Deutsche Bank AG, one of the first major banks to forecast a recession, now expect one to begin in mid-2023; Wells Fargo & Co. predicts the same. Nomura Holdings Inc. expects one even sooner, starting at the end of 2022.

While economists may not be sure if or when a recession will happen, it’s never a bad idea to plan your marketing accordingly. And right now, you can throw a stone and find an article or LinkedIn post with advice to recession-proof your marketing. Most talk about advertising being the first to get cut and that you shouldn’t take your foot off the gas when times get tough.

But if cutting costs isn’t the answer, what should you do instead?

Before you bust out your balance sheet and start slashing line items, you need to look at the marketing and sales activities that can positively impact your revenue and invest accordingly.

Here are four actionable steps to ready your marketing plan and ensure ROI on your marketing spend.

1. Understand Your Buyers Journey

Understanding your customers is key to winning and retaining business, building solid client relationships, and improving your products and services.

We think about customer demographics, pain points, goals, and motivations. However, the actual purchasing process, or buyers’ journey, is often overlooked. The buyer’s journey is your customer's path, from researching and understanding their issue to identifying a solution and staying your customer.

Our advice? Review each step of your buyer’s journey, from awareness to retention, and assess if you’re satisfying the customer’s need and nurturing their decision to choose you at every phase.

By understanding their buyer’s journey, you can reach them earlier in their process and have a more significant influence.

Need help establishing your client buyer’s journey? Let’s talk.

2. Review and Renew Your Website Content

Your website works hard for your business–it’s open 24/7, helps establish credibility and build trust, and provides information and resources to prospects and customers. One of our biggest mistakes with most company websites is to ‘set it and forget it’.

Think of your website as the first salesperson your prospect will encounter. You want to keep it fresh and in top operational condition. Ask yourself:

  • Is the website user-friendly?
  • Is it engaging and insightful?
  • Does it provide the correct information?

Look for opportunities where you can deliver relevant and insightful content to your prospects and customers that will make it easier for them to find you and do business with you.

Remember, you’re not talking to a search engine; you’re talking to your best prospect or existing customers.

3. Accelerate Your Digital Footprint

Let’s shift our perspective and view a potential recession as an opportunity. Every previous recession, from World War II to the dot-com bust, was followed by a more significant period of growth and prosperity. Halting an investment in digital transformation would likely halt your ability to capitalize on a more lucrative future.

In fact, it's a great time to invest in your organization's digital footprint, from your web and digital marketing strategy to technology and programs that can help you improve your business.

A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests, “Begin by studying what the surviving companies did differently during past recessions. More importantly, study the examples of those that not only survived but emerged from recessions as winners.”

4. Focus on Conversion and Customer Retention (AKA: Loyalty)

Marketing loves the top of the funnel. There is nothing like a lead coming in hot from the far reaches of the sales universe. But the real magic, and revenue, happen when prospects convert.

When things are lean, you must make every lead count. All the leads in the world won't do you any good if they don't turn into customers. Dial in your target personas and nurture them with the right message at the right time.

Last, but certainly not least, are your current accounts. You want to continuously provide your existing customers with relevant information that solidifies you as their trusted partner. Implement a communication strategy specific to your current customer base.

Bringing It All Together

By retooling your marketing plan to focus on revenue opportunities, including your digital marketing, you get more bang for your marketing bucks. Take, for example, RED66 client Gallagher Uniform. Business was going well for Gallagher.

Still, they were looking to increase their sales without adding many additional salespeople. We helped them revise their marketing strategy to focus on their digital marketing efforts and customer retention.

Gallagher's website traffic nearly doubled with a fresh SEO strategy, an updated and optimized website, and a reasonable investment in digital advertising backed by insightful content. Best of all, by providing the right content at the right time, their prospect conversion grew, and they exceeded their annual sales goal by $300,000!

Don't Go About Marketing During a Recession Alone

We understand that cutting costs is the first thing that comes to mind if sales go flat. So, while you may consider scaling back on your marketing or advertising, think more about evaluating what's working, what’s not working, and what's working within your industry. This is all in effort to develop a specific, actionable plan you can implement to accelerate your ROI.

Want to learn more about an actional marketing strategy for your business? Let’s set up a fifteen-minute chat and see what we can do together. Contact us today!

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