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How to Market During a Recession

Discover effective marketing strategies to navigate a recession. Learn how to reach your audience and maintain sales with these expert tips. Read more now!
marketing strategies

You’ve read the headlines and seen the stock prices. With all signs pointing towards a recession, it’s easy to fear economic uncertainty. Magnifying this, every decision you make during a downturn could have massive long-term effects on your organization. That’s a lot of pressure.

As businesses tighten their belts and marketing budgets shrink, you need a strategy that embraces both short and long-term solutions. After all, nothing—not even a recession—lasts forever. So how do you balance short-term wins and an evergreen strategy? Let’s dive into the specific strategies you can leverage to manage the downturn and emerge from it even stronger.

Focus On Your Top-performing Channels
Budget cuts are a natural symptom of a recession—meaning marketers need to be strategic to get the most out of their dollar. Understanding each channel and which ones drive the most ROI has never been more important. Unfortunately, marketers who don’t have this understanding will make influential decisions without the full picture.

In uncertain situations like a recession, quick wins—like investing in paid media to drive short-term traffic—can look particularly enticing. However, the returns on paid ads only last as long as you fund them, meaning you’ll lose that traffic the moment you stop paying for the ad space. On the other hand, by investing in SEO and content, you’ll set yourself up for returns that give back long after initial funding. In fact, nearly 60% of B2B marketers say that inbound SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.

Increasing your organic visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs) can drive continued, relevant traffic to your site without paying per click or impression, leading to better ROI over time. Take Kroger as an example: Kroger decided to begin investing in SEO to create content that would answer their audience’s questions and drive relevant organic traffic. Kroger’s new strategy helped increase organic traffic to their website by 7% year over year, resulting in millions of additional visitors per month.

The best part about this strategy: It helps you to truly future-proof your organization by setting you up for success long after the recession. By creating a solid foundation in SEO now, you’ll continue to see the benefits even after the markets inevitably restabilize.

Explore Our Exclusive MarTech Interview with Brian Thoman, SVP at WideOrbit!

Put Customers First When Creating Content
Businesses are not the only ones feeling the effects of the recession. Facing tighter pursestrings and reduced budgets themselves, the customers you’re trying to get in front of are changing the way they spend every day. However, while spending habits are changing, one thing about customer behavior that doesn’t change during a recession is the use of search engines. Your customers will always be looking for help online, and you can ensure you are visible by creating helpful SEO-friendly content.

Investing in SEO offers insight into what your customers need help with and how the recession affects them. In short, SEO gives you insight into what your audience is looking for online, what they care about, and what they need help with. Knowing what your customers are looking for online allows you to meet them where they are and understand which content will satisfy their needs. In short, the more you know about your customers, the more helpful and effective your content becomes. 

Not only does this make for a better user experience, but it helps you rank higher on the SERPs. In fact, the latest Google update is set up to incentivize helpful and relevant content with higher ranks on the SERP, which can help drive brand visibility while also building trust with your audience. 

Organic search represents an opportunity for you to understand your customer’s needs and create content that satisfies them. By providing real value in your content, you can build a reputation as a reliable source of information that customers will be more likely to return to, during and after the recession. 

Find Opportunities For Creativity In Your Planning
Marketing during a recession is all about learning to do more with less. And when you have less money to spend, you’ll need to find creative ways to find new leads and drive traffic. 

The good news: Despite less money to spend, there is more room for experimentation in your strategy. This downturn is a perfect opportunity to consider ways to better engage with your audience and provide them with more helpful content. For example, short-form videos have been gaining significant popularity in recent months; this could be a chance for you to pivot to other marketing channels to reach new audiences.

Get Alignment And Buy-in Across Teams
Regardless of the economic climate, having alignment across teams is essential, but this is particularly crucial during slowdowns. Aligning your Marketing function with Customer Success, Sales, and leadership teams is critical to building repeatable and agile processes. Agility is the name of the game when it comes to marketing during a recession, and any communication breakdowns will inherently hinder that agility. It’s helpful for your Marketing team to understand the goals and KPIs of your Sales and Customer Success teams and vice versa. Understanding team goals from the start will be easier to prioritize your content and collectively drive toward success. A good habit is to set up weekly check-ins across teams to offer visibility and identify blockers. 

Moves like these are vital for boosting the hygiene of your Marketing team and business as a whole. By committing to revamping your communication across teams, you’re building strong practices that will stay with you even after the recession ends.

Time To Evolve

Life is cyclical. A booming economy eventually has a downturn, and no recession is everlasting. But the marketers who are willing to adapt their strategies to the changing times are the ones that will find the most success. 

As your marketing budget gets thinner during a recession, you need to evolve your efforts to become future-proof, allowing you to survive the recession today and thrive when it’s over tomorrow. Investing in SEO and content now will enable you to set yourself up for success, regardless of the future or economy.

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Lindsay Boyajian Hagan, VP of Marketing at Conductor

Lindsay Boyajian Hagan is the VP of Marketing at Conductor, managing all demand generation and go-to-market activities. With over ten years of experience in the B2B SaaS space, Lindsay’s strengths lie in scaling marketing teams and building cross-channel campaign strategies. A determined entrepreneur, Lindsay began her career by launching her own company, WeareverYouGo. While working there, she participated in Cornell University’s startup accelerator, eLab class, where she built a team of five.
After stepping away from WeareverYouGo, Lindsay pursued a dual master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) and Management at Cornell University and ESCP Europe. She then joined Augment, a Salesforce-backed augmented reality SaaS platform, where she built the marketing team from the ground up and executed all online lead generation. Lindsay was a Discovery Awards Finalist for Emerging Women Marketers in Tech in 2017 and has presented at notable conferences such as Digital Summit DC Inside Intercom, the NYC Product Marketing Conference, and Conductor’s C3 Marketing Conference.


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