How to Thrive in a Downturn with Content Marketing
Smart companies don’t cut their marketing spend in a recession, but they do one really important thing - they change what they spend their marketing budget on to reflect the new context in which they’re operating.
Don't cut your marketing budget in a recession
There have been a number of studies going back nearly one century that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing marketing budgets during a weaker economy. Those Brands that maintained or grew their marketing spend increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards.
The 1990s – A MarketSense study concluded the best strategy for coping with a recession is balanced long-term branding with promotion for short-term sales.
The 1980s – McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 B2B companies and found that those who maintained or increased advertising grew significantly … both during the recession and the following three years. In fact, by 1985, sales of companies that advertised aggressively had grown 275% over those that didn’t.
The 1970s – An American Business Press study showed that companies who advertise and market aggressively can maintain and increase sales during a recession and in the following years.
The 1940s, 50s & 60s – Buchen Advertising tracked advertising dollars vs. sales trends for the recessions of 1949, 1954, 1958 and 1961. They found that sales and profits dropped at companies that cut back on advertising and, that after the recession had ended, those same companies lagged behind the ones that maintained their ad budgets.
The 1920s – Advertising executive Roland S. Vaile tracked 200 companies through the recession of 1923. He reported in the April, 1927 issue of the Harvard Business Review that companies that had continued to advertise during the economic downturn were 20% ahead of where they had been before the recession, while companies that reduced advertising were still in the recession, 7% below their 1920 levels.
Change your marketing budget
Smart companies don’t cut their marketing spend in a recession, but they do one really important thing - they change what they spend their marketing budget on to reflect the new context in which they’re operating. Brands that maintain their marketing budget and change their messaging can get a long-lasting boost in sales and market share.
Marketing in a recession will never be easy, because it involves going against instincts and standard operating norms. Customers’ behaviour undergoes profound changes – reflecting changes in their circumstances and needs, which may even be traumatic. In this environment you must accompany your customers on their new, different journey, shifting your message. This is an opportunity because Brands who are willing to be what customers need in a recession get to keep many of the new customers they get — and cement the loyalty of those they already had.
Content Marketing - cost-efficient strategy
Content creation is the foundation of all modern digital marketing efforts and Content Marketing is one of the most cost-efficient strategies available - according to the CMI, it costs 62% less than other outbound marketing channels. Consistent, high quality and engaging content impact audience decision-making more than any other technique. For example, 56% of people report being influenced to purchase after reading a blog post.
Content marketing is inexpensive, safe, available for anyone in any industry and a highly effective investment as content can be repurposed in so many different ways. For example, a podcast can be repurposed into a blog; a webinar could be repurposed into an explainer video; a blog could be repurposed into a product overview - the list is almost endless.
Content Marketing - the sooner you start investing in it, the sooner you'll see results.
Growth Marketing - not just for start-ups
Growth Marketing focuses on the entirety of the marketing process, from raising awareness to driving traffic and creating engagement to converting users and driving referrals. This holistic approach demonstrates the ambition and importance of growth marketing, as its success is directly linked to revenue generation.
Growth Marketing is a long-term strategy using innovative, data-driven techniques to nurture the brand-customer relationship at every funnel stage. In essence, you’re looking to acquire many new customers, retain them and turn them into brand advocates.
Growth Marketing is consumer-centric; strategy-first; focused on acquisition, retention and up-selling; evidence-based (data-driven); and utilises agile marketing operations. In comparison, traditional marketing is typically company-centric, tactical and campaign-driven; acquisition only; opinion based; and uses annual planning cycles.
Growth marketing isn’t just for early-stage companies, it’s a strategic practice for any growth-oriented and ambitious company. Growth marketing can continue your growth trajectory, for example, by identifying and testing new marketing channels and expanding into new verticals, adjacent markets and geographies.
The most significant benefits of growth marketing for companies are its ability to minimise costs and increase customer lifetime value. For example, it’s well known that acquiring a new customer costs five times more than keeping an existing one. Hence why growth marketing also focuses on up-selling existing customers.