As our economy remains in constant flux, it is important to understand how this will affect your duties as a marketer. Amidst a recession, marketing professionals face the challenge of effectively reaching and engaging with customers whilst remaining conscious of their financial positions. This doesn’t mean you must cease all marketing efforts, but rather shift to better connect with customers’ evolving attitudes toward spending and their relationships with brands. Keep reading to explore how you can adapt your strategies to align with these considerations and foster long-term success!
Start by gaining an even deeper understanding of your customer base. With constantly evolving financial situations, it is important to keep an eye on corresponding attitudes towards not only your product but spending as a whole. Recognize the impact of the recession on their purchasing power and adjust your messaging accordingly. Tailor your marketing campaigns to address their specific needs, challenges, and aspirations, ensuring that your offerings are accessible and valuable within their financial constraints.
No matter how effective a marketing strategy is, not all products are essential for our day-to-day lives. As spending becomes a more conscious decision for many, certain purchases will be prioritized over items that are seen as more of a luxury. If you’re marketing an “essential” product, you’ll be able to focus your messaging on affordability, value, and reliability, whilst those seen as “luxury” will likely require more of a pivot. You may want to focus on your product as a meaningful indulgence whilst emphasizing its uniqueness. For truly luxury items, incorporate messaging that details how your product is a worthwhile investment in the long term.
In trying economic times, we know that this isn’t a feasible option for everybody, but it is worth the consideration to see if this is an improvement you can make to benefit your customers. Whilst at face value it may seem that reducing the cost of your product sounds like it will lower your total profits, in actuality this makes your product accessible to a larger group of people and encourage more sales. This may look like running sales offering your product at a lower price for a limited time, or even permanently altering that cost.
Remember that you shouldn’t compromise the quality of your product to reduce its price! Evaluate the brand’s financial position alongside that of your customers to make the best decision for your business.
Build a strong connection with your target audience by aligning your brand's beliefs and values with theirs. Authentically demonstrate empathy and understanding of their financial challenges. Showcase how your product or service can alleviate their concerns or add value to their lives. Create content that resonates emotionally and shows that you genuinely care about their well-being. By being transparent and showing that you understand the hardships being dealt with by your community at large, you will be building far more meaningful relationships with your customers than you would by carrying on and acting as though the economic landscape hasn’t shifted. People want to feel seen and represented by the companies they support, so investing your time in developing trust with your audience is key to producing a loyal customer base – during a recession or not!
Now is the time to engage with consumers and build community through social media strategy. In these collaborative spaces, you can develop your brand’s personality whilst using it to grow your audience and develop loyalty and trust. This is the perfect place to demonstrate those core beliefs and empathize with your customers, as it is a uniquely direct avenue to communicate with them through. It is a highly saturated platform for you to conduct social listening through as well, so you may monitor those evolving attitudes in real-time and make the necessary adjustments to your strategy.
During a recession, customer retention becomes even more critical. Implementing loyalty programs can incentivize repeat business and foster long-term relationships. Reward existing customers with exclusive discounts, personalized offers, or VIP benefits. Show appreciation for their loyalty and create a sense of belonging, reinforcing their decision to choose your brand over competitors.
Recessions can cause a lasting shift in customer attitudes and behaviors, so you should anticipate that their expectations and priorities may change permanently. For instance, a 2009 McKinsey study found that of those who switched from higher to lower-end packaged goods during the 2008 recession, 34% said that they no longer preferred high-end products and an additional 41% said that while they still preferred the higher-end brand, it was no longer worth the money. These numbers of course vary across different product categories, but the sentiment remains: consumer attitudes are bound to shift and expecting them to return to what they were before a recession is only going to hurt your marketing efforts.
By acknowledging and adapting to these shifts, you can position your brand for long-term success. The recession will eventually come to an end, but your brand’s relationship with its customers will go on. Remaining conscious of your customers’ financial statuses builds loyalty and trust, which will only strengthen your brand and support it – through uncertain times and beyond.