Marketing in a Downward Economy

By -

Recessionary times call for a different approach to marketing, as no two recessions are alike and no two customers are exactly alike either. All your customers are affected differently, and therefore react differently to economic challenges. It is vitally important to understand each of your customers in order to adjust your marketing approach to maximize sales. So to begin, let’s take a look at some of the typical consumer segments and their resulting emotional response to a downward economy.

* Live-for-today Consumers: Carry on as usual, but may delay major purchases.
* Comfortably-well-off Consumers: Keep buying, but they are more selective.
* Pained-but-patient Consumers: Economize, but much less aggressively.
* Slam-on-the-brakes Consumers: Feel the money crunch hard and significantly reduce their spending.

Now that you have mapped out your consumer segments, the next step is to identify how your customers categorize their purchases.

* Essentials: These are things deemed necessary for survival.
* Treats: These are items seen as small justifiable indulgences.
* Delayed Purchases: These are desirable items that can be bought later.
* Luxuries: These items are considered extravagances and unjustifiable.

With these understandings, the next step is to fine tune your marketing strategies accordingly. For example, for slam-on-the-brakes consumers buying treats: reduce prices, reduce packaging sizes, and promote your products as a “you deserve it” small indulgence. And for live-for-today consumers buying delayed purchases: your marketing should clearly communicate why your products or services are needed while creating a sense of urgency with time-limited special offers and promotions.

Knowing your customers is just part of the equation. Coupled with this knowledge, what cost saving methods can you use to advertise your business? Let’s take a look at some effective strategies to market during a downward economy.

* Consider partnering and running cross promotions with another company from a different product category that targets a similar consumer segment.
* Make sure your marketing is targeting specific consumer groups and you are able to track effectiveness.  For example — Google pay-per-click campaigns.
* Refresh former campaigns that were successful rather than creating new ones.
* Consolidate all your media buying with an accredited marketing agency like ZOO Media Group to maximize discounts and increase buying power.
* Avoid any long-term media contracts at the outset of an economic downturn. Wait until rates fall before buying media.

Whether the current economic climate is officially in a recession by technical definition, it is clear we are experiencing a challenging economy. And an economic downturn usually means businesses look to scale back marketing spending. However, time and time again – research has proven that a downturn creates great opportunity to accelerate sales growth faster than your competitors who wait in the wings for the climate to get better. That means, there is no better time than now to step up your marketing efforts.