“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford

To say the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on the U.S. economy is a huge understatement. Almost 40 million Americans have filed unemployment claims because of the pandemic. This affects consumer spending, which makes it that much more difficult for certain industries to recover from the economic loss.

​As marketers, we’re anything but safe from economic downturns. In fact, a recent survey from Gartner revealed 65 percent of chief marketing officers (CMO) and marketing leaders are bracing for moderate to significant budget cuts due to coronavirus-related disruption.

Now, I’m no economist, but I can say this with complete certainty:

In a recession, the last thing your company should do is stop investing in marketing.

As a former CMO, I know how tough it can be to spend marketing dollars while everyone else around you is tightening their belts. But there are several reasons why sticking with your marketing strategy during a recession is smart:

Save a Little Now, Spend a Lot Later

One of the keys to maintaining brand awareness and a competitive edge is staying top-of-mind with consumers. Cutting your marketing spending may save a little money now, but it will cost you a lot more when you need to rebuild marketing momentum during the recovery. Not only that, but several studies have shown decreasing your marketing dollars actually hurts sales during and after a recession.

It’s unavoidable for some companies to have to reallocate and reduce marketing spending in this economy. But the last thing you want to do is to take your foot off the gas and stop marketing completely, because that leads to negative ramifications, including damaging your share of voice, that are hard to recover from.

Spending More in a Recession Is a Good Idea

Social media already plays a prominent role in your marketing strategy, but during a recession, it becomes even more important. That’s because advertising giants like Facebook aren’t immune to revenue losses during a recession, which is why it’s cheaper to run ads on social media when times are tough.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the cost to put an ad in front of Facebook users 1,000 times in March dropped 15-20 percent from February.

Sounds simple, but the best way to preserve and increase your share of voice is to spend more, especially during a recession. Ratcheting up your ad spending during a recession can yield fantastic ROI, because many advertisers drop their rates when the economy is hurting.
If you got it, spend it. If you don’t, your marketing can still prosper:

Getting Bang for Your Buck

If you’re facing considerable cuts to your marketing budget, there are several tactics you can pull off on the cheap.

  • Content Marketing: Writing blogs, white papers, eBooks and more are cost effective ways to usher prospects through the buyer’s journey while increasing your website SEO.
  • Customer Testimonials: There is no better advocate for your brand than a happy customer. It doesn’t cost you much (aside from time) to reach out to customers to see if they’ll give you a good quote or leave a positive online review about your products and services.
  • Remarketing Ads: Remarketing ads usually have higher conversion rates because they target prospects who have visited your site, and that means better ROI for you. Since advertising on Facebook is cheaper these days, try launching a lead generation campaign that includes remarketing for some serious positive impact.

At Brand825, we work with companies of all sizes and budgets to get the most ROI out of their marketing strategies. If the current economic climate is forcing you to shuffle around your marketing budget, we’re here to help.

Kedran Whitten, Brand825’s co-founder, has more than 28 years of marketing leadership experience at the SVP and CMO levels, including revenue growth, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, etc. When she’s not helping brands be their best, Kedran can be found jumping out of planes, at Tennessee Titans games and watching her two boys crush it on the baseball diamond.

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