Six Ways to Market Ahead of a Recession

Recessions happen.  And while no one knows when, or how severe, one thing is certain — there’s one on the horizon in the next few years.  So how are you marketing now to minimize its impact when it lands?

First of all, understand how a recession will impact your customers — and by extension, your bottom line.  In most industries — and there are exceptions — demand drops off during a recession.  That means working to ramp up demand now before things cool off.  Here are six ways to do that now.

1. Divide and Conquer
Especially if you have a long sales curve, divide prospects into two types: those who are likely to stop spending during a recession, and those who aren’t.  Market with a greater sense of urgency to the first group to move them more quickly toward a purchase decision, while playing a long game with those whose purchasing power is less likely to be impacted during a downturn.

2. New Purchase Paths
Work now to develop alternate methods of purchase that may be more affordable and less risky during a recession.  Look at the kinds of financing options already in place at furniture stores and others, or consider creating different purchase models like subscriptions, as software companies and others have done.

3. Protect Your Base
In a downturn, you can’t afford to lose existing customers.  So use this time to perfect and even enhance your customer service.  Communicate more often with existing customers, through more channels — and more effectively.  Offer them insights and ideas that can help them through a slow economy, especially if you can assist them with that.  Look out for them, and they’ll stick with you.

4. Create Urgency Now
What problem do you solve?  Remind prospects of the pain that problem causes, and the remedy you provide.  Help them see how their life will be better the sooner they act.

5. Play All Your Cards
Talk openly about the likelihood of a recession in the next couple of years or so, and promote the benefits of purchasing now while things are still relatively stable and the economy is mostly strong.  Paint a picture of what it will look like if they wait too long. 

6. Sharpen the Differences
Right now, double down on the ways in which you’re better than your competitors.  Especially if you cost a little more, make the case for the value you deliver.  Be more creative in your marketing to make certain your message sticks.

One more thing.  Consider setting aside funds now to use for marketing when things slow down.  Your competitors are likely to make the classic mistake of putting marketing completely on hold to save money.  If you can create a rainy day marketing fund to help you keep your name out there, you’re likely to capture a bigger share of those who are still buying.