Fund managers have been making worrisome predictions that a worldwide recession could unfold in the next 12 months. Such a reversal of economic fortune would bruise the U.S. but might pummel other countries, particularly in Europe.
Carlos Beirao da Veiga, a Portuguese marketing expert, has safely sailed through multiple economic storms. In his area of expertise, marketing for companies big and small, uncertain times can result in trimmed spending. But when budget cuts hit marketing in the early stages, the lost momentum can negatively impact the business.
“Periodically, businesses must hunker down in the face of potential economic uncertainty,” Beirao da Veiga says. “They must be more careful, watching the business closely and examining the project’s ROI.”
During such times, marketing professionals should cleverly keep their businesses visible. It’s important to demonstrate one’s value and tell a better story than competitors.
Carlos Beirao da Veiga Says to Make Sure Your Audience Grasps Your Value
Every business is peering into the looking glass, seeking guidance to dodge the economic minefields ahead. A marketing professional like Carlos Beirao da Veiga can give team members a north star by crafting a 12-month plan. Their plan can derive insight into how to market to specific groups through a series of queries. For example:
• What do you know about the world the customers inhabit and their unique opportunities and challenges?
• What best practices do other companies adopt to get through tough times and situations?
• Can you offer unique insights about companies’ audiences that would help them stay relevant?
Consistently demonstrating value makes you and your company indispensable to your customers and would-be customers. Companies get good results by keeping content fresh during times of economic duress. Data backs up this experience. According to HubSpot research, 56% of “marketers who leverage blogging say it’s effective, and 10% say it’s the content type that generates the biggest ROI.”
Tell A Better Story Than Your Competitors
Health tech investor and former journalist Chrissy Farr told “Forbes” that she regularly urges companies to use the correct language to tell their stories. Written content shouldn’t be complex or hard to understand; it should be clear and convey value.
“Companies must construct a better story than their competitors,” Carlos Beirao da Veiga says. “By cuing up confidence, companies gain the fuel to tell customers they’re superior to the other players in the space.”
It’s time to change strategies if your brand’s advantage isn’t clear on the website, blog posts, social media channels, pitch decks, and articles that quote your company’s management.
Stay Visible When Consumer Confidence – and Yours – is Low
When times appear grim in the retail sphere, one of the worst things to do is to go dark and cut out all marketing efforts. Bad idea. When the economic turmoil ends, you will want your product or service top-of-mind as managers increase their budgets.
Wavemaker, the world’s second-largest media agency network, conducted a September 2022 survey that unveiled customers’ moods. Consumer sentiment is down 16% since January, while confidence is even lower than in the 2008 recession.
Dennis Potgraven, chief strategy officer at Wavemaker, said consumers are worried that a potential recession will last longer than the previous one. That means companies must make a longer-term plan to help recoup profitability over sales. Businesses must earmark time and resources upfront so that it doesn’t take forever to recover when the economy bounces back.
The data also reveals that budget limitations convince consumers to make purchase shifts, even to brands that aren’t their favorites. Meanwhile, consumers are shifting to buying CPG products from top brands to private labels.
“This is not a 12- or 18- month ball game,” Potgraven said. “Consumers are shifting, and they keep shifting to other brands for longer.”
During a discussion at Advertising Week, audience members were shocked to discover that over the past century, more than a dozen major brands started in various recessions. These include Mattel, Trader Joe’s, Microsoft, Adobe, Electronic Arts, Uber, and others. So, there’s hope. Companies can focus on targeted work, improving segmentation, talking less to fewer people but more effectively, and prioritizing customer retention over acquisition.
Celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary, star of the American television program “Shark Tank” — encourages experimentation during economically uncertain periods. He tells companies in which he is interested in spending a third of their marketing budgets on experiments every quarter.
Businesses should hold their faces to the sun and get optimistic in times of economic uncertainty. They must keep the lights on and remind customers they are positioned as the resource. Companies that lose confidence and dilute their public relations and marketing during a downturn often fade into the background. Those who claw their way back after a recession might find themselves reinvesting to return to their pre-recession levels.