Why Digital Marketing Should Be Your Top Priority Through a Recession

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Marketing in a recession may seem like a risky move but time and other companies have proven it’s the right move. The beautiful spring weather is finally upon us, but economists and marketers warn: a fiscal storm is coming. While you can’t control the spread of COVID-19 and its effects on the economy, you can certainly control the way your company fares through periods of recession by responding strategically rather than frantically.

Your first instinct may be to scale back on marketing and make every possible budget cut, but this panicked reaction is what causes many companies to suffer. Think of recession marketing not as an expense but rather as an investment when you’re marketing with the right people and getting a good return. In 2002, McKinsey & Company found that, during a recession, the best-performing companies increase their spending on advertising. They say the same will hold true for the next one, warning, “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.” Instead, take a deep breath, reevaluate your marketing plans, and focus on the efforts that keep your business alive.

Now is a critical time to finesse your digital marketing strategy and get the upper hand on your competitors. Below, you’ll learn why an investment in digital marketing is more important than ever in the current recession and the benefits you could see from maintaining or increasing your advertising budget.

Top Three Reasons to Continue Your Marketing Efforts Through the Recession

It may seem counterintuitive, but an economic downturn is the perfect time to double down on your digital marketing efforts. In such circumstances, you have the opportunity to turn a difficult situation into a time of growth and profit with the right digital marketing approach. Here are three reasons that you should continue your marketing efforts despite economic hardship.

1. To address changing consumer needs and earn their trust

Times of crisis require a shift in marketing strategy

COVID-19 changed consumer needs and behaviors essentially overnight, which means it’s more important than ever to know what your target customer’s most current needs are and how you can adapt your services or products to address them in this ever-evolving market.

In times of crisis, consumers expect more from the businesses they frequent. They want their favorite companies to make an effort to connect with them, understand their feelings, and adjust their offerings accordingly.

So, in order for your company to sustain profitability and maintain connection with your customer base, you need to adjust your messaging around the recession and the coronavirus instead of slashing your digital marketing budget.

Big-name companies like KFC, Coors, Louis Vuitton, and Hershey’s have already begun taking strides in this direction by pulling ads depicting social interaction and replacing them with messaging on social distancing and how their products can benefit consumers in quarantine. For example, Coors is running an ad campaign called “The Official Beer of Working Remotely,” depicting how their beer can make isolation a little easier.

Even if people aren’t using your services right now, the demand for restaurants, hotels, airline tickets, spas, salons, and other nonessential services will likely skyrocket when the pandemic is over, based on data from the 2008 recession. For example, once the worst of the recession aftershocks were over by 2011, travel spending grew 14.5% by 2015 according to SpendingPulse. So, use this time to think about ways to get scrappy with your marketing in the meantime. Consider offering promotional gift certificates and vouchers or find other ways to boost cash flow when business resumes.

Marketing agility increases trust, brand awareness, and perception of capability

Being mindful and flexible with consumer needs is what leads to retention, which every marketer knows is easier AND more affordable than finding new customers. It also improves your brand awareness and gives consumers confidence knowing that your company is strong, capable, and agile even in an economic crisis.

2. To increase market share and benefit from low competition

It takes less money toachieve more during a recession

In times of economic change, few things are certain — except that some businesses will gain market share and others will lose it. Many of your competitors are rushing to cut as many expenses as possible, and their marketing budget usually goes with it.

Google’s algorithm doesn’t

rest during a recession.

If your company is healthy and spry, this could be a major opportunity. Some businesses fail to consider that the Google algorithm doesn’t rest during a recession. It will continue to rank, and without the bidding war between you and competitors, the cost of ad space decreases. With fewer companies investing in their SEO strategy, you can easily take over the best spots in Google’s rankings for less money. Ultimately, you’ll have less competition and more opportunity to acquire leads at a lower cost, empowering you to quickly increase your market share.

With fewer companies investing in their SEO strategy, you can easily take over the best spots in Google’s rankings for less money.

Putting in the time and money now puts you ahead of those who aren’t doing so

With this being the case, perhaps the recession is actually the best time to invest in digital marketing. As you work hard now to create relevant content, improve your website, and hone in on your SEO strategy while your competition is cutting back, you’ll be ranking well for keywords that will help you quickly make up for lost revenue and put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition when this is all over.

3. To keep up with the rest of the world

Digital marketing is the new way of the world

Our society is going digital, and it’s never turning back. Digital marketing is now a proven and sophisticated practice that companies rely on even when times are tight. Your company’s online presence is a big deal, and now is the time to digitize your marketing for maximum brand exposure, regardless of your industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, industries are social distancing and learning to adapt to the online way of business.

Doctors are seeing patients through video chat

Grocers and restaurants are offering delivery and curbside pickup

Movie theaters are offering drive-in movies in their parking lots

Artists are providing living room concerts through social media

For many, this shift could be permanent, and it’s important to know how to use online marketing tools in this new digital world — especially considering that US consumers spend six hours consuming digital content every day. Yet, in a recent survey of 350 small businesses, data revealed that only 51% of them had a website and only 48% utilized social media in November 2019. By neglecting content marketing, companies are missing key growth opportunities.

In a recent survey of

350 small businesses…


of them had a website


utilized social media in November 2019.

Online marketing is creating new business opportunities amid COVID-19

The majority of consumers are at home as well, and online shopping is more prominent than ever. These circumstances have brought about invaluable marketing opportunities. Now is the best time to target tech-savvy couch shoppers and appeal to a whole new audience.

For example, VidAngel is offering its services entirely for free without requiring credit card information for the duration of the COVID-19 quarantine in exchange for the user’s willingness to practice social distancing. Once the pandemic is over, those who liked the free trial will likely sign up and pay for their services.

Digital advertising is a low-cost, low-commitment way to find new customers

One of the best parts of doing digital marketing during a recession is the fact that online campaigns will

stretch your marketing dollars and doesn’t require a long-term commitment if you do end up needing to scale back.

Marketing channels such as e-mail marketing and SEO are low-cost, foolproof investments that offer a high and consistent ROI

SEO and email marketing can always be re-strategized if they aren’t performing, and they will continue to perform long after implementation

Organic SEO testing and website analytics are the only ongoing tasks your marketing campaign really needs

Online marketing during
the recession increases your
chances of rebounding

As you get more aggressive in your digital strategy, you protect what you have built and increase the likelihood of a strong rebound after the recession.

Marketing tips through a recession

Take the First Step TowardSaving Your Business

Of everything you could take away from this, remember that marketing is an investment rather than an expense, and you need it to keep your head above water in times of trouble

A strategic digital marketing
strategy will yield:

Brand awareness

Growing sales and steady profits

A greater number of visits to your website

Higher client retention rates and consumer confidence

Increased market share and credibility for your company

If you’re still not convinced, check out these case studies on companies who thrived in economic downturns by focusing on their marketing.

Avalaunch Media is ready to help you go digital and fine-tune your recession marketing strategy so you’re ready to steamroll your competition now and even years after this crisis has ended. When you’re ready to take the first steps, give us a call to discuss your strategy. We’ll help you make sure you’re on the right track for success. If you simply want to learn more about how to market more effectively in this new digital age, turn to our how-to guide below.

Get Our Guide to
Marketing in a Recession

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