Recession-proof your digital marketing in two easy ways

Smart companies don’t cut their marketing spending in a recession. They do change what they spend their marketing budget on to reflect the new context in which they’re operating. Affiliate Marketing and Content Marketing are two channels that can recession-proof your digital marketing.

10/10/20220 min read

Firstly, when a recession comes, don’t cut your marketing budget.

There are numerous studies from the Great Recession, 2007-2009, evidencing that the companies who bounced back most strongly from previous recessions did not cut their marketing spending, and in some cases, actually increased it. If you want to research more on this subject, then the following articles are worth a read.

Don’t Cut Your Marketing Budget in a Recession, Harvard Business Review

When A Recession Comes, Don't Stop Advertising, Forbes

This also reminds me of a story about the UK Insurance company, who slashed their PPC spend on generic terms by six figures, during the Great Recession, as they didn’t convert. What they hadn’t taken into account was that investing in generic terms, at the awareness and consideration stages of the sales funnel, was actually driving the conversion of the brand and specific terms at the bottom of the funnel - preference and action. After about three months of declining sales from paid search, the penny dropped, they re-invested back into generic terms and their sales returned back to normal three months later. But, they lost six months of sales and revenue because of this error of judgement.

Companies that don’t cut their marketing spend in a recession, do one really important thing though - they change what they spend their marketing budget on to reflect the new context in which they’re operating. There are two channels that can recession-proof your digital marketing, which you should evaluate.

Affiliate Marketing

The Performance Marketing Association’s (PMA) recent white paper stated that for every £1m spent in the affiliate channel, it drives around £12m in sales. That’s an incredible average return on ad spend (ROAS). The PMA go on to state that compared to 2018, where there was an estimated £6.2bn going through the affiliate channel, 2021 and 2022 ahead is continuing to grow to £9.1bn and beyond.

Performance will increasingly be a key factor to measure performance when budgets are being pushed, however, the affiliate channel is still one of the most effective areas to invest in, especially during a recession and when budgets are being taken out of other direct-to-consumer channels. If you want to know more about Affiliate Marketing and the benefits of this channel, then I’d recommend reading the following articles.

How To Convince C-Levels That Affiliates Are A Good Investment And Why, Lee-Ann Johnstone (Affiliate Insider)

Will The Rising Cost of Living Impact Affiliate Marketing? Lee-Ann Johnstone (Affiliate Insider)

How to get more out of Q4 with Affiliate Marketing, Webgains

Content Marketing

Content creation is the foundation of all modern digital marketing efforts. Customer loyalty is not built on features, benefits, discount codes, coupons and social media brand ambassadors. Loyalty and long-lasting relationships are built by companies that inspire and command trust and make us feel that we’re accomplishing something much bigger. During a recession, it’s also worth highlighting that Content Marketing is one of the most cost-efficient strategies available - it generates X3 more leads and costs 62% less than other outbound marketing channels. Consistent, high quality and engaging content impact audience decision-making more than any other technique. Did you know that 56% of people report being influenced to purchase after reading a blog post, and that including a video on a product page can increase conversion by 85%?

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.

If you want to start investing in content marketing and see results, it’s important to ensure that you devise an effective content marketing strategy that:

  • Aligns your content with your commercial goals and ideal customer profiles.

  • Organises content assets into logical and natural journeys prospective customers take.

  • Maps content to a typical sales funnel - Awareness, Consideration, Preference, Action, Loyalty and Advocacy.

  • Delivers results - establish thought leadership, provide value and attract new and returning customers.

Content Marketing - the sooner you start investing in it, the sooner you'll see results.