Don't pause your marketing efforts during hard times – but use your money wisely

Published Oct. 25, 2022, 10:06 a.m. by Maria Biesterfeldt

These are hard times, to put it mildly, and it’s affecting businesses and individuals alike. But what does the recession and energy crisis mean for marketing executives like yourself? How will it affect your ventures in the near future? Spoon's Agency Director, Maria Biesterfeldt urges you to be bold and make the most of the situation – and save money while doing it!

Take action when the competition waits it out

Long-term effects of the pandemic, an energy crisis, raw material shortages, inflation and a raging war. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to spot any kind of light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. For consumers, this means a thinner wallet and less demand for goods and services. For many businesses and brands, it makes sense to cut down on marketing. And perhaps even put a hold on certain ventures until we reach some kind of normality again?

I say, do the opposite! Because if there’s one smart thing to do right now – if you have the opportunity – it’s to utilize these uncertain times to grab market share for your brand, while the competition waits it out.

Recession brand building

When Covid-19 first broke out in the spring of 2020, many businesses pulled the brakes simultaneously, which resulted in significantly less competition for consumer attention.

However, we did notice an increased need for information from the public. This, in turn, led to a record number of users in digital channels, news and social media alike.

And these are only a few reasons why I think it’s a good idea to build your brand when times are hard. As companies and brands make less of a splash with their marketing and major campaigns are less frequent, the opportunity to stand out is huge. This makes it possible for businesses with more modest marketing budgets to grab a great ROI in brand building ventures.

Whether or not we find ourselves in a raging recession or economic boom, there are no shortcuts to strengthening your brand. A brand is built over time. And it’s expensive. Therefore, creating communication and marketing that has an effect over time is the right thing to do.

During a recession, client loyalty and share of voice/share of search are important KPIs to measure.

Spend the money wisely

If you find yourself forced to cut down on your media budget, know that there are more clever and cost-efficient ways to invest it than what many of the large media agencies would have you believe.

If you spend your money the right way in the right channels, you’re able to achieve equally good – or maybe even better – results with a lower budget, than if you spend millions on a nation-wide, three-week campaign.

By focusing on strategic content and insight-based ads for internal or external digital channels, there’s no need to pay marketing fees to people who really don’t care about your brand. Instead, focus your time and energy on communicating with people who actually care about what you have to offer.

Strategic distribution will not break the bank

For years, we’ve collaborated with our sister agency Trickle, developing benchmarks and KPIs for our clients. This way, we’re able to measure results that actually matter. Especially when it comes to producing and distributing content and ads that actually work. All of this for a lower ad fee than if you would utilize a “leave-no-one-behind” media strategy.

Make sure you prioritize your company’s internal channels and the kind of content that generates the most engagement, here and now as well as going forward. First-hand information rooted in social media and your own website will give you valuable insights into existing as well as potential clients.

By prioritizing SEO (search engine optimization) when it comes to published content and the structure of your website, you’ll increase the amount of organic traffic and you will rank higher in search engine results. This will also lead to increased visibility over time, something that will not only preserve your market share but increase it.

Go for existing clients

But how are we going to be able to increase sales by only communicating with our existing clients? Well, let me remind you of the 80/20 principle. For a lot of brands, 80 percent of their revenue comes from 20 percent of their clients. These are probably the best clients you’ll ever have, since we already know it’s about five times more costly to acquire new clients than sticking with existing ones.

The takeaway here is to focus on your existing clients and your position. This way, you’re able to prioritize growth when the market springs back to life again.

Almost nothing will sell itself

One of the first things to go when making cut-backs is the marketing budget. But how clever is that, really? A marketing position is rarely kept open until the business in question decides to get back on the horse. How many of you reading this can raise a hand and truthfully say you have solutions or products selling themselves?

If you’re not showing your clients that you’re out there, they will develop new habits. But if a business or brand makes themselves heard or seen – adapting to their client’s new workday, as well as providing a pleasant buying experience – this will strengthen your company.

No matter how long we’re in this recession for, it’s imperative that you defend your brand position in the market, preferably with a long-term strategy.

Perhaps all of this is best illustrated by the cliché “keep calm and carry on”.

Maria Biesterfeldt, Agency Director, Spoon Stockholm

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