Will marketing your business make it recession-proof?
No, nothing will make a company recession-proof. However, cutting your business’ marketing will only hurt during and after a recession. During a recession, marketing is usually the first to go. Here’s why it shouldn’t be.
Benefits of marketing in an economic downturn
For your company to continue to make money, your business needs to be in front of your customers. With no marketing or a lower marketing budget, you are losing valuable face time with your current and potential customers. This applies to everything in marketing, from traditional advertising to managing your website’s search engine optimization. Every company wants to believe without a doubt that their customers are loyal to the end, and although that can be true for some well-loved brands, eventually, you can risk becoming “out of sight, out of mind.”
When you continue marketing to potential customers during a recession, your competitors may not, and this can give you a competitive edge. An excellent example of this is Kellogg’s and Post cereal brands. Before the great depression, Post was the leading cereal manufacturer. When the great depression hit, they cut back their advertising budget, whereas Kellogg’s doubled their budget and introduced Rice Krispies. These steps grew their profits by 30% and helped them become the leading manufacturer of cereal.
How to market in an economic downturn
Content marketing! What is it exactly? Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Buyers want to trust the companies they do business with during good times, but it’s especially important to build that trust during a recession when money is tight. Marcus Sheridan saved his business, River Pools and Spas, during the 2008 recession doing just this. You can read the full story in his book “They Ask You Answer.”
Implementing content marketing
The best way to start applying content marketing is to find out who your target customers are and the questions they ask during the buyer’s journey. This will help you create buyer personas to target with your content. If you can help answer your customer’s questions through your content (blogs, videos, ebooks, etc.), and create a marketing strategy that uses that content, you are well on your way to becoming their trusted advisor. This will help your business survive during a recession.
With traditional advertising (magazine ads, TV ads, billboards, etc.), it can be difficult to track your business’s return on investment. Content marketing is the exact opposite of those older forms of marketing. With the proper tools in place, you can track a customer’s purchase back to their first digital touchpoint, meaning you can see which marketing efforts allowed your sales team to get leads and close deals.
Although content marketing narrows your target audience in comparison to outbound marketing, the efforts have a more significant impact on your audience because they are perfectly aligned with what that audience is interested in at that moment. Although outbound tactics can get your company a lot of impressions or visibility, those impressions have a smaller chance of converting to a sale.
Using your content to inform potential customers allows your sales team to have better-informed sales conversations, which shortens the time to close a deal and lessens the amount of time spent in the sales cycle.
The cost of content marketing
Creating content and posting it online only costs the time it takes to make the content. Traditional outbound marketing costs time, materials, and publication prices, whether it is a TV ad, billboard, or print piece. Lowering costs and improving your net gain can help you ride out an economic downturn.
Although it can be tempting to cut marketing during a recession, there are ways to market more efficiently with lower costs. If you utilize content marketing and maintain your marketing budget, you can see significant financial benefits in the long run.
Our Digital Marketing team does content marketing for both of our lines of business: Managed IT Services and Software Development. Check out some of the content we’ve created to bring in new leads and customers here.