Marketing Through Economic Turmoil

Marketing Through Economic Turmoil

In uncertain economic times, we business owners are forced to make difficult decisions. With the novel coronavirus, the future seems unpredictable. Thankfully, nearly a century of data can alleviate some of these fears and help companies see the upside.

A Harvard Business Review study published in 1927 showed that companies who continued to advertise during the 1923 economic downturn, came out 20% ahead of where they were before the recession. Meanwhile, companies that reduced advertising spend in the recession were down 7% below their 1920 levels. From the 1940s to 1990s, the results remain consistent, including McGraw-Hill Research data on 600 B2B companies that showed an impressive 256% growth in sales after aggressive advertising through the 1980s economic dip. 

More recently, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) found that in the 2008 recession, brands that “went dark” (stopped advertising and communicating with consumers for one year) suffered considerable financial consequences for six months or more and took five years to recover and return to their normal profits. Companies that cut their ad budgets in half for one year took three years to recover. 

When it comes to advertising, the toughest question is not “if” you should continue to advertise, but “how” to remain at the forefront of your industry. Here are four ways to maximize opportunities: 

  1. In turbulent times, market needs do not disappear. In fact, they increase and are largely unmet. Therefore, you should listen to your customers, identify their needs and adjust your product or service to meet them. 
  2. As the above-referenced studies show, the benefits of remaining present for your consumers extend well beyond the time of economic difficulty. Long-term branding remains as important as ever, enabling you to maintain the integrity and quality of your product or service and continue building lasting relationships with clients. So remember to prioritize the long term.
  3. Now more than ever, consumers wish to be heard and are seeking brands in which to place their trust. So show your loyalty to customers. Emerge as a leader in your community by becoming increasingly visible and dependable.
  4. Trust and familiarity are key in moments of general uncertainty, so people gravitate toward mediums they enjoy reading. Likewise, consumers seeking reliable news reach for printed content. In fact, 71% of people in a 2,131-person study chose print content as a source of deep understanding and trust. So rely on trusted forms of engagement with your target audience.

The results of the past 100 years cannot be ignored: Brands that remain present for their consumers don’t just survive difficult economic times but will thrive. By listening to your market, embracing long-term strategy, and basing advertising on loyalty and trust, businesses can see results for years to come.

For more ideas on how to stay present during the current environment, contact us

Jeanne partners with Best Version Media (BVM), one of the fastest-growing private publishing companies in North America, to produce East Fishkill Living, her hometown monthly magazine, and works with colleagues on a number of similar glossy publications around the Hudson Valley and beyond. Thanks to BVM for portions of this content. 

Jeanne Cotroneo Darrow
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