Even though the economy may be taking a dip, it doesn't mean your brand has to follow suit. An economic downturn can be the perfect opportunity to show off your brand's resilience, stand out from the pack and grab more market share. And what better way to do that than with a solid brand marketing strategy? Think of it as an investment in your brand's future, helping you weather the storm and position yourself for success when the economy improves. So, grab your umbrella, and let's start building that marketing plan - the looming recession may be all doom & gloom, but your relevance doesn't have to be.
Why Brand Marketing Is More Important Than Ever
It's natural to feel worried during uncertain economic times. The urge to reduce expenses is strong, and marketing budgets often become a target for cuts. However, taking a step back and considering the bigger picture is essential.
Remember that recessions are temporary, and the current economic uncertainty may not even result in a full-blown recession. Many leading economists predict a mild and brief recession, or in some cases, no recession at all.
Panic can cloud your judgment and lead to hasty business decisions. Instead of completely cutting your marketing budget, it's important to remain calm and make informed decisions. History has shown that brands that continued their marketing efforts during a recession were able to bounce back faster. Research also suggests that slowing down your marketing efforts is not the best approach.
So, take a deep breath and strive to make rational choices. By staying level-headed and keeping your brand visible, you can set yourself up to increase brand awareness and attract new customers even in challenging times.
1. Invest in Market Research
One of the secrets to staying ahead in an economic downturn is conducting new market research to market during a recession effectively. It may sound crazy to spend time and money researching when budgets are tight, but consumer behavior has shifted. Especially after the last three years we've had, but if you're relying on the research you did even several months ago, your understanding of the marketplace and your customers are out-of-date.
You want to use your marketing budget wisely, so now is the time to get very specific about your target audience, buyer personas, and demographics so you can tailor messaging and know which marketing tactics will reach your ideal customers.
2. Don't Cut Your Online Paid Advertising
If you don't show up, someone else will. These words could not be more true when it comes to your search engine marketing strategy. Many competitors will get nervous and cut back their paid marketing efforts, but if you remain in the game, you could reap the benefits and grow your online presence.
So before you slash your ad spend, think about the following:
- Increased competition: In tough economic times, competition intensifies, and cutting back on SEM can result in losing market share to your competitors who are still investing in their online presence. Don't believe us? Research shows that after just six months without advertising, average consumer brand awareness decreases by 24%.
- Lower cost per click: During a recession, the cost per click on search engines tends to decrease, so maintaining or increasing your SEM spend can result in getting more value for your budget.
- Increased online activity: In times of economic uncertainty, people tend to spend more time online researching products and services, making it an ideal time to reach potential customers.
- Long-term impact: SEM provides long-term benefits, such as building brand recognition and establishing a strong online presence, which can be critical for survival during a recession and puts you in a better position fro when the market rights iteself.
A popular adage goes like this: When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise. So instead of cutting back on SEM spend, consider reevaluating your strategy and find ways to maximize your return on investment.
3. Try B2B Influencer Marketing
People are more prone to act upon the suggestions of their peers, and the B2B world is no exception. This cost-effective approach is growing in popularity and proving successful in reaching a wider audience, spreading brand messages, and boosting awareness, especially in tough times.
It's not just about mega-influencers either - sometimes, the smaller influencers pack a bigger punch! Micro-influencers, who can come in the form of employees, customers, or industry experts, are all about engagement over size. It's not just the quantity of followers that counts; it's the quality of their interaction with your brand.
So, what can you achieve with your B2B influencer marketing campaign?
If you're not sure, here are a few popular goals:
- Boost brand awareness
- Engage new target audiences
- Drive sales
- Maintain a positive brand reputation
To measure these goals, it's important to track the following metrics:
4. Build Trust & Awareness with Content Marketing
Step up your content game and be a trusted source of valuable information during tough times. When budgets get tighter, research takes center stage, and consumers want to make informed decisions before purchasing. So polishing up your current content and thinking about the added value you can bring to your market could pay off.
Tackle the tough questions head-on and showcase your expertise by diving into topics that speak directly to the problems your product or service solves. Give answers to common queries and highlight the unique value you bring to the table. Address your target audience's fears and top concerns, especially in the early stages of your new customer journey.
You can mix various tactics to create an effective content marketing strategy:
- Blogging: Regularly publishing blog posts on topics related to your business and industry can help establish your brand as a thought leader and drive organic traffic to your website.
- Social Media: Sharing your content on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook can help reach a wider audience and drive engagement. Short-form videos are taking over social media as it has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy.
- Infographics: Visual content like infographics can help simplify complex information and make it easier for audiences to understand and remember. Infographics are also easily shareable.
- Video Marketing: Creating and sharing videos on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tiktok can help increase engagement and drive traffic to your website.
- E-books and Whitepapers: Long-form content like e-books and whitepapers can provide in-depth information on a particular topic and can be used to generate inbound leads.
- Case Studies: Sharing real-life examples of how your product or service has helped solve a particular problem can help build credibility and establish trust with your audience.
- Webinars: Hosting live webinars or on-demand webinars can help educate your target audience, provide value, and generate inbound leads.
- Newsletters: Regularly sending newsletters to your subscribers can help keep your audience updated on the latest industry news, trends, and updates from your company.
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Mix and match these tactics to craft a winning content marketing strategy that'll score you big with your target audience and help you build trust organically without blowing the marketing budget.
Just keep in mind to not only write for Google's search engine and algorithm. Write all your content with SEO best practices in mind, but also make sure your content is helpful, reliable, and people-first in nature, or Google might ding you.
Build Brand Loyalty
Brand marketing is for more than just attracting new customers. Companies should look inward to their existing customer base and focus on building brand loyalty too. Loyal customers are essential, especially when the markets are bearish.
Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25% to a whopping 95%? That's why customer marketing and building brand loyalty are so important when you're tasked with doing more with less.
Customer marketing is a customer-focused approach that emphasizes empathy, builds trust, rewards loyalty, supports customer service, and responds to customer feedback. When customers feel valued, have avenues for feedback, and receive rewards, they become more loyal to your brand.
Shift some of your marketing budget towards customer marketing to reap the following benefits:
- Reduce risk. You already have a relationship and knowledge of your existing customers and their needs, making it easier to market to them. Customers who have already bought from you are more likely to repeat their business or upgrade, reducing the risk of trying new tactics to attract new customers.
- Conserve marketing budget. If you reduce spending on lead acquisition during a tough economy, you have more resources to support existing customers, increase brand loyalty, and raise brand awareness - tactics that drive long-term growth.
- Boost retention. Customer marketing tactics can also boost retention. If B2B customers are cutting back on major purchases, a higher customer retention rate could make a significant impact on your revenue. In tough times, you don't want to lose ground.
Read The 5 Customer Marketing Tactics You Can Use to Build Brand Loyalty here.
It's a common misconception that marketing is a luxury when in reality, it's the steady engine that keeps success humming along. But your marketing strategy needs to shift gears in tough times like a recession. Take inventory of all your marketing channels, analyze channel performance, and invest in those channels performing the best.
Don't make the mistake of slashing your marketing budget - it'll only hurt your chances of weathering the economic storm. But instead, reallocate your spend, and if you're feeling the pressure and your wallet's getting thin, focus on connecting with your customers and potential customers where they are. Match your marketing message and marketing efforts to their current buying habits and make an impact, even on a tight budget.
B2B Institute Research Fellow, Strategist, and Marketing Consultant Peter Field said, "Because the sales funnel in B2B purchasing is generally longer than in B2C, the arguments in favor of supporting long-term growth through brand building are likely to be even stronger in B2B than in B2C. B2B Brand associations created now are likely to bring the greatest sales benefit during the recovery period, precisely when the rewards are biggest. Brand advertising is not about profiting in recession, it is about capitalizing on recovery."
So to wrap it all up, keep calm and carry on. The strong and resilient brands will pull through and make it to the other side.