Recession is a REQUIRED Marketing Tactic

I’m a big fan of Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That! Today, though, I’m not sure I agree with Andy.

Marketers: Stop sending promotions that start with in these tough times, how to market in a recession, or any other bad economy-themed promotion.

I Wish Andy would have thought of this:

Perform a search on Recession on Google and you’ll find the numbers are quite startling. We’re in a recession. We’re deep in a recession. Many people are losing their jobs. Fear of others losing their jobs is causing consumers to cut back on expenses. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a logical thing.

Talking about how to save in a recession may not sound positive – but it’s not negative, either. The recession is a negative, your products or services that you provide can still be positive.

This isn’t the chicken or the egg… we didn’t get into this mess because people started talking about a recession or are talking about it. In fact, the recession may have started a year ago before anyone was really talking about it. Now that we’re in it, we need to take actions to make it out alive.

Every company should be thinking about how to best capitalize on the recession and message accordingly. What does your company offer to businesses or consumers who are looking for ways to cut back? You better start talking about it!

Compendium Blogware is a Great Example:

My company provides a less expensive alternative for Marketers to generate inbound leads for their companies. According to eMarketer, marketing is on the chopping block for many companies:

eMarketer recession

If I’m a marketer at a company that’s either let some staff go or is looking for some places to cut, guess what I’m searching for on Google? I’m searching for ways to cut my budget, look like a champion, and save my job until this thing blows over!

Some other sobering statistics on Marketing in a recession:

  • 48% of the large US companies polled by MarketingSherpa in September said their traditional media budgets would be cut; 21% said the cuts would be “significant”.
  • 59% of the 175 senior marketing executives polled by marketing services firm Epsilon expected a reduction in their traditional marketing budgets; only 13% expected an increase.
  • 85% of the 600 marketers surveyed by MarketingProfs claimed they would be reducing their traditional marketing vehicles.
  • 53% of Association of National Advertisers (ANA) members said they were cutting budgets in response to the downturn; 40% said they were altering the mix of marketing channels to lower cost channels.

It would be irresponsible for me, as a Marketer, to not speak about the recession and why we’re a low cost alternative to companies who are trying to drive business without the resources they used to have. This is the exact climate we need to capitalize on and grow in.

You should be marketing about it as well.

Hat tip to Jeff at the basement design + motion for the link to the eMarketer paper!


  1. 1

    I totally agree with you Doug. I’d go a step further and say that if we really want to help we would very aggressively be telling them how to refrain from making mistakes in a down economy or recession or whatever you want to call these times.

    To take it a even further, I would say that since marketing is an integral component of the total business plan, we should be also targeting the entrepreneur or business owner especially the small business owner who typically does it all alone. Most of these business owners are petrified, are waiting for the next shoe to drop and are hoping that someone would give them some advice, any good advice.

    I agree that we have to tell them the truth: “Ten ways to keep your small business from going under in this down economy” or something along that line. We have to tell them that they should be spending on marketing in this type of economy and why.

  2. 2

    Great post, Doug, very straightforward and business-y. I joined you on Friend Connect.

    Questions: Why do so many people–why does ANYONE–believe that marketing is the wisest first cut? Shouldn’t it be the exact opposite? Why don’t we all just wrap ourselves in an invisibility cloak? It’s the same thing. How is any company supposed to make money if no one can see them?

    On the reverse side of the coin, marketing not only SPEAKS, but in this age of social marketing, it LISTENS and responds accordingly. It observes, it navigates. Cutting marketing in this case is akin to an ostrich burying its head in the sand, or a child closing his eyes and covering his ears.

    All execs need to catch the clue train: marketing is the LAST thing you should cut. That to me is a real, complete and total no-brainer. A no-brainer! Cut marketing?! What?! Excuse me?!

    …and that, friends, is the attitude we marketers must portray if we are to survive.

    • 3

      Great question, Will! My two cents is that the majority of marketers are directed to react rather than plan. Marketing departments don’t typically have the staff to begin with to generate the growth and MEASURE that growth for a company. Because they can’t show their value to the organization, they’re often the first on the chopping block.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.