How to approach marketing during a recession

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 16:36

South Africa is in the midst of a technical recession and, while the implications are usually fairly clear for individuals and large institutions, what does this mean for marketing?

The first assumption would be that, since consumers will likely spend less due to decreased buying power, marketing efforts will only be a waste of money. If people aren’t buying your product or service and you keep spending money on promoting it, surely you’ll have a deficit. But this might not be the case.

A recession undoubtedly poses some challenges but they’re not impossible to overcome. It simply takes more consideration and, possibly, a skilled digital marketing agency to turn things around and make the best of a sticky situation. 

Understand spending

During a recession, spending doesn’t stop entirely. A recession simply means that growth is slower than it should be. Once we understand this, we can continue our marketing strategies keeping in mind that people will still buy products. They might just be more selective or cautious. 

Marketing is directly related to sales so suddenly cutting down on marketing spend will have the opposite of the desired effect. When you keep your marketing strategies in place, your sales will continue and you’ll ultimately be better off than without them. 

Capitalise on the opportunity

Another thing to keep in mind during economic strife is that most companies will cut costs by reducing their marketing efforts. If you stay the course with yours, you’ll likely be one of few in your sector to actively market their products or services.

In other words, it’s the worst time to cut down on your marketing costs because that leaves the market open to your competitors. And conversely, if your competitors follow this approach, the market will be wide open for you.

Stick to brand messaging

The most important thing to remember when tackling any marketing strategy is sticking to your brand’s core messaging. You might be inclined to run sales or promote incredible deals in order to inspire consumers to purchase your product regardless of their reduced spending power. But keep in mind that the brand and its reputation will survive beyond the recession.

While deals and special offers are often a good idea, drastically dropping prices during a recession might come across as desperate and negatively impact brand credibility once the economy stabilises. 

Emotions are key

During a recession, emotions tend to be volatile from both sides. Consumers are anxious about overspending while businesses are anxious about consumers not spending enough. The key is to keep emotions aside when it comes to decision making.

Your emotions may convince you to make decisions that are expensive in the long run, while your customer’s emotions may leave them wanting relief or comfort. Tailoring your marketing strategy accordingly will see you through the trying economic times and possibly reinforce your brand position after the recession has passed. 

Ultimately, sticking to your guns and continuing your marketing strategy will bode well. Instead of drastic changes, simply tweak your messaging to align with your customer’s current state of mind while adhering to the core brand positioning. A digital marketing agency in South Africa, like Rogerwilco, can help you to navigate the turbulent economic waters and tailor your messaging for optimal results.

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