Marketing budgets are often one of the first things to go during a recession, which can be frustrating for marketers who still have goals to meet. In fact, in the second quarter of 2022, marketing budgets shrank by an average of 7%, despite most businesses already underspending. Not only that, but buyers are also watching their wallets, making it tougher to influence their decisions. Good marketing is key to driving sales, but attribution is difficult to measure. So, when your boss is asking you to do more (or at least the same amount) with less, what can you do?
Focus on Your Best Performing Channels
As marketers, it’s natural to want to experiment with new channels and find innovative ways to reach buyers. But when the budget simply isn’t there, you have to focus on the channels that are performing well, so you can prove that you deserve more budget to try those new things. To do this, you’ll need to ensure you have analytics and dashboards in place to measure where most of your traffic is coming from.
While social media may be a great branding tool for you, if email marketing is driving more conversions, you need to focus your spend there. That’s not to say that you should stop social media completely, but maybe direct more of your budget away from boosted posts and focus on organic traffic. Maximize free traffic as much as possible (blogs, social media, etc.), so you’ll have more money to spend on paid advertising.
Use Free Tools When Possible
Free marketing tools may not include quite as much functionality as their paid counterparts, but there are many that can at least give you what you need in a pinch. Take inventory of the tools you currently have access to and what features they offer vs. what you’re using. You may find that you’re only utilizing a small portion of the available features, meaning you may be wasting spend. You may also find that you have more licenses than you need.
And if the tools you’re using don’t actually save you time or money, maybe it’s time to cut them out and use that spend for a different type of marketing tool. Software that includes automation is a great option for scaling your marketing efforts, even during a recession.
Push for More Online Reviews
Buyers tend to be more skeptical during a recession, so they turn to other buyers and users to determine whether they’re making a good investment. Referrals are a great source of business, and you may incentivize current happy customers to refer others to you, via discounts, a gift card, or some other incentive. However, maybe potential buyers don’t know other people they can get recommendations from, and that’s when they turn to online reviews.
Make sure your happy customers are leaving you good reviews online. If they aren’t, just ask. Most people will be happy to take a couple of minutes to leave you a good review if you’ve treated them well. You can also incentivize customers to leave reviews, although we don’t recommend this because it will likely make the reviews vague and may seem fake to potential customers.
Marketing Must Continue, Even During a Recession
While marketing budgets are often cut early during an economic downturn, that doesn’t mean we should stop marketing efforts altogether. Without solid marketing, we lose the benefits of brand recognition. And without brand recognition, buyers are less likely to trust a company and spend money with them. Instead, marketers must find a way to optimize their spend by using free channels and tools, focusing on the channels that work best for them, and emphasizing online reviews to build trust.
If you need help extending your marketing spend to new audiences, talk to TechnologyAdvice. We have a global audience of over 100 million technology buyers that we connect with brands like yours every day through solutions like content creation, lead generation, and advertising.