Adjust your mindset
Most millionaires are made during downturns. This is because they see opportunities in investments that can be bought cheaply. These then rise in value as the economy recovers. You don't need to be into stocks and shares to not just survive a recession but thrive through one. Approaching the current recession with an open mind will help you spot opportunities for the benefit of your business.
Is the recession an opportunity to adjust your messaging in your marketing? Is it time to pivot your business, diversify your offering, innovate with a new product or service, or revise and refresh your current products and services? If you understand that your audience’s needs may have changed in the current economic climate, you may need to make some changes to your messaging, offering or business.
If you change your offering, it might also mean your branding as well as your marketing is out of step with what you do. That’s why it’s important to review your branding regularly – more on this in our blog post Is your branding costing you business?
Don't follow the crowd!
Just because your competitors may be hunkering down, doesn't mean you have to as well. This is the perfect time to get out there and in your target audience's faces. You’ll be the only one out there shouting and the focus will be all on you. Your competitors have made it easy for you!
Is anybody there?
Consistent contact is needed for sales. There are numerous resources online that tell you how many ‘touches’ are needed for a sale. Answers include seven, eight, 14 or 27 times. While the jury is out on how many times you will have to put your company's name and branding in front of your potential audience's faces for them to buy, we can all agree it can take quite a lot of ‘touches’. If you stop marketing, you are missing out on ‘touches’ and potentially interrupting your pipeline of new business.
See marketing and design as an investment, not a cost. Typical expenses for example, staff, materials etc, are essential for running your business because if you offer a service, you need staff to deliver it and you can't create a product if you have no raw materials. In the same way, how will people know you're there to buy from if you don’t allocate a budget for telling them? Even if your product or offer doesn’t need to change in the recession, you still need to tell your audience you are there.
Smooth it over
Consistent growth through consistent marketing won’t just help your sales figures, it will also help calm jumpy shareholders. They will understandably be wary of ‘rapid growth at all costs’ strategies during these financially turbulent times. By investing in design and marketing for now and for the future, you are more likely to secure steadily growing profits and help your shareholders keep their cool.
If your marketing plans have not worked or were but are no longer delivering a return on investment, then it's definitely time to invest with a new plan. Maybe you need to shake things up further and work with a new creative partner. No plan is not a plan!
Can you be smart with where your budget for design and marketing comes from? For example, if you’ve had to make your in-house design team redundant, you will still need a design team of some description to support you. You will still need to create designed materials, sales and marketing pieces and a marketing strategy. With a lack of skill set in-house, can you use some of the budget saved from losing your employed design team in commissioning an external creative partner?
Is it possible to source the budget from other parts of your business? For example, if your HR team has made a few low-hanging fruits in the sales team redundant perhaps it’s possible to reinvest some of the budget saved in better sales materials, such as brochures, leaflets and digital media, for your remaining sales team. Those sales colleagues will need to work harder to deliver in these tough economic times so you need to be sure their sales materials are up to scratch.
Don’t get complacent
We’ve all been there – business is booming so you take your foot off the gas with sales and marketing. You let your branding stay as it is because you feel “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But as described in our Is your branding costing you business? post, your branding could be out of date, sending the wrong messages and costing you money if you haven’t reviewed it for a while.
What if the work dries up? You don’t know what will happen with your customers over the course of the recession – no one can predict how every business will be affected or what decisions they will have to make. Some of your customers may have to make the heartbreaking decision to reduce or cease work with you. Make sure you don’t stop selling in case you need to replace some of them.
Don’t wait until the worst happens and you’ve lost work. Generating business takes time so to avoid dips in income, keep your sales strategy running. It can be hard to get going again in tip-top condition from a standing start if you’ve let it shudder to a halt.
This too shall pass
You may recall in lockdown 1 that sharp intake of air the whole world took. At Studio Bifrost we saw client budgets slashed and projects stopped. No one knew what to expect so everyone paused. To get us through these difficult and emotional times, the quote “this too shall pass” was shared prevalently on social media. It was true.
Those strange socially distant times are mostly behind us. There are some lingering effects – the recession being partly caused by Covid for a start – but day-to-day life has largely gone back to normal. We’re no longer living in seclusion and a lot of industries have bounced back.
The same thing will happen with the recession. We don’t know how long it was last or how bad it will be, but it will end. Budgets will recover. If you stop your marketing plans now, you’ll be left playing catch-up when the inevitable upturn arrives. The best way to prepare is to keep your marketing plans going. Keep investing for your business’s future in design and marketing.
A partnership made in heaven?
Feeling inspired? We'd love to help! We are a team of collaborators that enjoy nothing more than partnering with ambitious clients. Get in touch if you'd like to talk through your next project or get some advice.