After 11 years of expansion, the economy is officially in a recession, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Rather than using the standard of two consecutive quarters of contraction, this measure designates a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."
Most economists don’t see a ready recovery, either. Rather than a V-shaped recovery pattern that early estimates anticipated, experts are predicting a lengthy, slow recovery and a recession lasting throughout 2020.
Given that a second wave and potential future lockdowns are expected in the summer or fall of 2020, the news simply isn’t good for the economy.
That doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad news for your company or your brand. How should you tailor your marketing efforts to the current situation?
This isn’t the first time the economy has been in deep recession, so there are some clues from the past that can help you know how to plan:
Others Pulling Back May Mean Growth for You
It makes sense that some brands are going to cut their marketing budgets, whether that’s from fear of the recession or a simple deer-in-the-headlights response to the current situation. As long as you don’t also go silent, you may be able to pick up their share of the voice in your industry.
Your voice is your share of the visibility and at what level you own the conversation in your industry. As other brands pull back, you can gain new ground. This is a time to make your brand more visible and be present in the conversations happening on social media.
Why You Should Dig In
It will likely feel incredibly unnatural to funnel more money into your marketing efforts right now, but if you look at history, this kind of move pays off in the long run.
For instance, look at Target. Rather than quietly allowing others to pull in more market share in the early 2000s, Target saw an opportunity. They cut distribution costs and operating budgets and poured 20% more into marketing. Before long, Target was enjoying unprecedented market share.
Walmart used a similar approach in the 1990s, with Sam Walton famously saying that he made it through the recession because “I thought about it and decided not to take part.”
You can find plenty of examples of brands that have captured new market share simply by investing in marketing when everyone else is getting cold feet. Kellogg’s, Toyota, and Taco Bell are just three that have plowed ahead while their competitors retreated.
Revisit Messaging and Buyer Personas
Now that you’re convinced that you should prioritize marketing, rather than slash your budget, how should you proceed?