Navigating a Recession: 5 Marketing Principles for Thriving

Marketing during a recession can be a challenge, but with the right approach, brands can thrive even in tough economic times. Here are 5 key principles to help you succeed:

1. Maximize existing demand

Maximizing existing demand is essential to driving growth during a recession. Research shows that maintaining strong experiences for current customers is more important than trying to bring in new ones. Brands should prioritize increasing conversion rates for in-market and existing customers by using platform automation and predictive analytics. Utilizing broader campaign types, such as Google’s Performance Max and broad match, and value-based bidding, has been shown to drive 20% more conversions at a similar cost per acquisition (CPA). Incorporating first-party data and evaluating the on-site experience through advanced user testing and research will also help to drive repeat visits.

2. Maintain marketing investment

It can be tempting to reduce marketing spend during a recession, but staying the course is more likely to result in greater rewards. Data shows that maintaining marketing investment protects share of voice and helps brands stay resilient to price elasticity. Brands should consider the full funnel to see both long-term and short-term results, and leverage the power of digital video to maximize investment. Diversifying the digital channel mix, such as incorporating influencer marketing, can also help drive incremental reach.

3. Highlight your relevance and value

Consumers are looking for honest and direct brand communications during a recession, and they are wary of inauthentic messages. Brands should focus on highlighting the necessity of their products and services, emphasizing time savings and convenience, and avoiding one-size-fits-all messages. Personalizing communications using real user data signals through dynamic creative optimization (DCO) can also help build trust and resonate with a diverse audience.

4. Redefine the audience opportunity

Recessions can change customer priorities and shopping behavior, so it’s important to track how customers reassess their needs and redefine value. During tough economic times, value-seeker audience groups tend to grow, and pre-existing trends toward reduced materialism, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility can also impact standard audience profiles. Brands should stay attuned to these changes and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.

5. Measure to drive growth

Maintaining or increasing spend during a recession requires demonstrating the impact of media investment. Brands need a 360-degree approach to measurement, incorporating econometrics, attribution, and lift studies to inform budget splits, cross-channel, and in-channel decisions. Investing in the right technology and embracing a test and learn approach can help drive overall performance and exceed business goals.

By following these 5 key principles, brands can successfully navigate the challenges of marketing during a recession and emerge stronger on the other side.