by David Meyer
Some business forecasts call for rain. Headlines about a couple of slow quarters, war, inflation, energy shortages, inverted yield curves, and declining consumer confidence have some business owners more than a little concerned. While nobody can be sure when the next recession will hit, like anything else, it’s best to be prepared.
First, remember that not all businesses suffer during a recession; some industries thrive during downturns. But regardless of your sector, growth is still possible.
Studies from Harvard, Bain, and McKinsey all recognize the same actions that make the difference between winners and losers during economic downturns. They have identified the steps that winners have taken to position themselves for accelerated growth when the economy bounces back.
1. Don’t Stop Now
The impact of marketing has inertia; it takes time to ramp up. Halting marketing activity might cut short-term expenses, but at what cost? Without continued investment, the equity built up in your brand and your position in the marketplace can suffer dramatically. Share of voice erodes, and efforts to stay top-of-mind with buyers will be lost. Research shows that companies that cut marketing will see their revenue fall 20-30% over the following two years. If you stop your marketing machine, it can take years to recover.
2. Buy Market Share When It’s Cheap
While growing your bottom line during a recession might be difficult, it’s arguably the best time to grow market share. Business books are full of case studies about companies that took advantage of a recession to grow market share at a bargain rate. Ad rates are usually discounted, and companies that actively market increase brand awareness and instill confidence in their business—and the inherent value of their product/service.
Sure, growing during a recession requires capital, but likely not more than the capital you already have budgeted.
3. Play To Your Strengths
You are nimble. You’ve proven it. Small businesses can adjust faster and change rapidly based on market conditions. When modifications need to be made, you don’t have deep layers of approval that are required at many big companies. Use this to your advantage and adjust accordingly.
4. Trust and Track Your Metrics
From Google Analytics to a HubSpot dashboard, you have tools to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Follow along to see what strategies and messages resonate most with your customers and which do not. Change things up when necessary and leverage your resources to ensure you are receiving the best possible ROI.
You’ve dealt with uncertainty before (see: the pandemic). Rely on the experience you have gained from overcoming past obstacles and know that you and your team are well-equipped for whatever comes next.
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. You are part of a creative and resilient business group that can move forward in big ways, no matter the market conditions. You’ve got this.
David Meyer is the Chief Marketing Officer at Spoke Marketing. Spoke Marketing (www.spokemarketing.com) provides fully-integrated marketing and sales programs that define and activate the customer buyer journey.