Marketing in a Recession: How to Navigate the Changes
We are diving back into the topic of recession marketing strategies, but here’s the thing: In reality, planning for success and recession planning are no different.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just not worried about economic downturn or if you are. The things that we’re talking about are fundamentally critical to growing, scaling, succeeding, building resilience, and building joy.
We’re going to be talking about alignment today.
I have three different areas of alignment, but let me chase the squirrel for just a second. I want to provide encouragement because of something that’s really inspiring to me. My calling is to help people use their work to bless the world, whether that’s helping them build out marketing strategies, brand building, determining marketing budgets, or marketing in a recession.
One of the things that led me to my calling is that I love people, even when they maybe aren’t worthy of that love.
Love isn’t about people being perfect or being happy with people. It’s about a deep commitment to others, and I love seeing people’s potential, even when they’re not living up.
This is something I talk about frequently:
You’re insanely, wildly unique, beyond any and all comprehension. I refer to it as spiritual fingerprints. No one else in the history of the world or anyone else will have the same set of spiritual fingerprints you do.
Your uniqueness dwarfs anything you might have in common with anyone else. You have 100 billion neurons, which is, of course, a lot.
That being said, the true source of your individuality actually comes from the connections between those neurons.
Here’s where the numbers get mind-blowing:
Each neuron reaches out and makes at least a thousand connections with other neurons. This means that even after your brain has gone through a couple of bouts of synaptic pruning during childhood, you’ll still wind up with 100 trillion connections in your brain.
How big of a number is that?
Well, your brain has more connections within it than five thousand Milky Ways. This is the true extent of your individuality and your authenticity. You don’t need to be compared to someone or compare yourself to someone; you’re uniquely and perfectly created.
You’re constantly creating, evolving, and capable of bringing something no one else can.
Lean into what you have! You already have all of the resilience, resources, and power you’ll ever need to have a mind-blowingly joyful life. That’s what I want for you guys.
So! Let’s dive into this topic of alignment and what it has to do with marketing in a recession.
If you’re a business owner or a salesperson, you might be thinking about your product or service. If you’re an employee, volunteer, or whatever, you’re thinking, “What’s the value that I bring to people?”
This is alignment. What kind of alignment should you be thinking about when you’re talking about communicating what you bring to the table?
Well, first, alignment is with the market, right? When you were talking about aligning with the market, you might be facing a change in a value proposition.
Alignment is about value.
As the economy is impacted by a recession, it’s crucial to understand how it affects marketing and marketing costs. During a recession, people tend to tighten their budgets and prioritize their spending, so it’s important to understand how this will impact your marketing strategy.
To make sure that your marketing strategy remains effective, you need to be aware of how your target audience values your brand and what they consider important. Your value proposition may need to change to meet the changing needs of your audience, who may be prioritizing their marketing spending or looking for ways to save money.
Ultimately, the key to successful marketing during a recession is to understand your audience’s value proposition and what drives their interest in your brand. By aligning your marketing strategy with their values and needs, you can continue to deliver value and build strong relationships with your customers, even during challenging economic times.
This is a fundamental shift in the value proposition.
You have to be aligned with the market. Here’s the thing: During times of financial downturn, you have to change in value proposition and how the market is changing.
Suppose you’re aligning with the market and possible economic recession. You’ve got to think about how they’re changing.
First of all, if there’s a negative financial impact, there’s going to be a shift towards things that are more affordable. Be careful in your definition of affordability in your marketing budget or any other service.
It doesn’t just mean cheap. It means, “What am I getting for my money?” and “How does that play out in the total context of my marketing budget and every other financial and spending decision that I can have?
You’ve got to be aligned with this value statement.
When we have pressures or changes in the market, there’s a shift in prioritization. Sometimes people go up the value chain, meaning they’re more concerned about legacy, meaning and significance.
Sometimes, people need to go the value chain down because now they have to be concerned about stability and how they’re going to get by day to day.
Think about how the market is prioritizing now.
This might apply to what you’re offering because you might have a different offering that can work.
It may be a secondary or tertiary offering, but because of the market change and possible recession, maybe you need to be focusing on this alternative priority. Your priorities need to follow the market — that’s alignment.
Don’t forget that when there’s a lot of change, people become sometimes become more risk-averse.
Your market is adjusting away from risk, and you need to be communicating about that risk. You need to think about that risk and about how your product, service, marketing budget, or personal value aligns with the nervousness in the market due to the economic downturn.
Give yourself permission to think through these things, to get outside of your own noggin and into the shoes of someone else.
And I mean that: You have to walk in their shoes and project what they might be going through.
From there, ask yourself what’s appropriate. How do I bring the value that they define? How do I align with their value?
You also have to understand what their trigger is.
What’s going to prompt them to be interested? Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them. What’s happening with them that’s instigating their curiosity?
Keep this other-centric focus. What’s the change in buying trigger for them? You have to identify what that is and how it has changed because if you can speak to that early, you’re going to win.
Sales and Marketing Strategy Alignment
Let’s get back to alignment. When we’re talking about alignment with your marketing efforts and sales, have you opened that conversation to sales? Have you opened that conversation in marketing?
Your sales and marketing efforts depend on it.
More importantly, have you opened the door between those two groups of people? They have to be able to share their insights with each other and have this conversation.
Economic downturn or not, your salespeople and marketing campaigns need to be working together.
Here’s the interesting thing: Sales are reactive
And I don’t mean that in a bad way. They’re literally reacting to live human beings that are in a decision-making position. Sales are service-oriented on a one-to-one basis.
However, marketing strategy is proactive and predictive in regards to their service of the market.
These are two very different paradigms.
The question becomes this: How do you add empathy to your communication and your sales and marketing strategy? You want both reactive and predictive points of view because, in doing so, you get a very rich profile of people.
This alignment will help you be focused on your existing customers loyalty as well as help close new customers. This is what effective marketing campaigns are all about!
Prioritizing Existing Clients
It’s sexy and satisfying and exciting to think about net new clients, but dance with the ones that brought you.
You’ve got to care for those that care about you.
You’ve got to be ruthlessly focused on their loyalty and reducing customer churn.
You should always be prioritizing your existing customers, no matter where you’re at in the market or business growth. It’s hard to build most businesses if you can’t keep what you already worked so hard for so.
But, maybe you can go deeper and wider with your existing customers because of what’s happening in the market.
You should be thinking about your operations around your current customers and if there’s alignment between sales, marketing strategies, and operations for your existing customer base.
It’s important to view what your customer’s marketing budget (or any budget) in a unique light. In thinking this process through, will existing customers see your product and your service as essential?
Will they see it as a treat? Will they see it as a postponable or expendable?
You better know because if you do, you’ll be able to predict what’s going to happen and figure out how to align with it.
Customer-Centricity and Team-Centricity
To drive more effective marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to focus on market share and successful marketing. A well-executed marketing campaign and a sound advertising strategy can increase your market share and drive growth. To maximize the impact of your marketing investments, consider incorporating digital marketing tactics into your current marketing budget.
To ensure that your marketing spend is yielding a high marketing ROI, it’s essential to prioritize your existing customers. You should be aligning your sales, marketing strategies, and operations with their needs and values. To do this, you need to have a deep understanding of your customers’ budgets and what they see as essential, a treat, or expendable.
A customer-centric and team-centric approach is crucial to creating a successful marketing strategy. Servant leadership, which is all about putting your customers first, is the key to walking the walk and becoming a customer-centric organization.
To delight your customers and be the best part of their day or week, you need to focus on the customer experience journey and think about ways to make their life easier. Apply this same customer-centric approach throughout all of your teams and at all stages in the buying process, considering the buying triggers and value proposition of your customers.
You also need to shift this perspective inward.
How do you care for your team? How can you create an employee experience that’s appropriate? Remember, if you feel the pressure, your team will too. You want your team to stay away from their own knee-jerk, emotional panic.
A lot of times, they’ll make decisions based on fear, and these are rarely the right ones. Bold, prosperous thinking never comes from a position of fear. As such, you’ve got be make sure you’re helping people to be aware of what’s happening and their own choices.
Help people by giving them the tools to become self-aware and stronger throughout this type of thing.
Change can be created because of pain that can be long-lasting and critically important to potential and growth.
What does this mean?
Give people permission to re-prioritize their tactics.
Help them identify low-yield tactics and low-yield activities that don’t bring value to them or to customers. Identify and cut low-yield messaging.
If you’re saying something and it’s no longer resonating with the market or with your team, it needs to go.
Look to maximize your existing efforts, and just pay attention to what’s right. Pay attention to what creates a smile. Help your team optimize their current fruitful efforts.
Focus on strengths and make their strengths bigger and more clear.
From there, redesign and validate what you believe about your customers. What are they thinking about? Where do they get their resources and solutions? Where do they get their information, and how does that change the prioritization in their life?
Finally, make sure to align with your values, especially from an organizational perspective. This refers to decision-making criteria. When you’re thinking about what to cut, add, or prioritize, it should align with your values.
If not, it’s not sustainable. If you create dissonance and friction inside of your own head and heart, you’ll act out that dissonance, and it will cause sabotage for you.
I hope that this resonated with you!
I also hope you do some thinking about what you stand for and what you stand against. Keep in mind that I mean this in your role as a human! Just a natural human being inside of your real identity.
What are the neurons communicating to you? How does that role express itself in its core values and the things that you hold consistency to? You stand behind certain principles.
Get clarity on what those principles are individual, from a family perspective, and from an organizational perspective. Hold them up as decision-making criteria with which to bounce ideas and sharpen your edges during times of change.
The best way to be trustworthy is to be clear about what you’re trusted with.
This can make you the next best version of yourself.
I appreciate you joining in and hope you learned a few things about marketing in a recession. As you probably know, we’re constantly launching tools and more resources to help you bring more value to your product launches and any other marketing efforts you take on.
Stay in touch with us, subscribe to our networks, and let us know how we can bring value to you.
Thank you so much for reading. Onward and upward!
If you want to learn more about how marketing can drive business resilience during an economic downturn, check out our YouTube video below!