Marketing, PR & Advertising and Small Business & Startups

Recession marketing basics

September 30, 2019
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Kim Bode. Courtesy 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications

Most business owners have probably heard that there is a recession on the horizon. When you’re someone who owns and runs a small business, you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The recession is that shoe.

Another part of being a business owner is planning, planning and more planning. Recessions suck, but that doesn’t mean your business is guaranteed to suffer. Prepare yourself, have a plan and get proactive — you and your business will get through this.

Where do you start? Believe it or not, you need to focus on marketing. That’s because marketing is more than just sales; it drives brand awareness, employee retention and those other important factors that help businesses survive through rough times.

In the last recession, more than 400,000 small businesses went bankrupt or permanently closed, according to The New York Times. If you want to prevent your business from suffering the same fate, you need to invest in marketing, not cut budgets as soon as you feel the squeeze.

Don’t skimp

When times get tough, lots of companies immediately cut marketing. That’s a bad idea, because it means that you effectively disappear. If companies are closing or suffering, and if your business suddenly stops producing content, what are your customers supposed to think? That you closed?

Sure, you need to revisit your budget in rough times, but cutting the one thing that makes your business visible is not the way to do it.

Focus on people

Marketing matters because it shows that your company is more than just a name. During tough economic times, people are more likely to support companies that are candid, trustworthy and feel familiar.

When you continue to tell your story — about how you’re giving back, what your employees do, and more — you show your audiences that you care. Recessions are the ideal time to give back, after all. If you aren’t reaching out and helping your community now, you’d better start ASAP, so you’re in a place to help out when people really need it.

Create a plan

If you don’t know how to prepare yourself for hard times, find someone who does. There are a ton of local marketing agencies that have survived and coached companies through recessions before. Don’t go at this alone. Find someone who knows what they’re doing and get in touch.

It’s easy to shut down when times get tough, but business owners need to square up and think strategically. Don’t freeze. Make sure you develop a plan now, so if desperate times hit in the future, you aren’t caught unprepared.