Ride out Tough Times With These Marketing Strategies

Follow these strategies to get in touch with your customers’ needs during tough economic times.

With most economists forecasting a recession next year, consumers are already tightening their belts, and plan to rein in their spending even more in 2023, which is affecting the strategies of advertisers and marketers, who have belt-tightening issues of their own.

According to a Big Village Insights/Caravan Survey, three-quarters of consumers agree inflation has had a significant impact on their households, with nearly as many expressing concerns about a recession happening in the next six months.

Additionally, nearly half the population (45%) has taken to purchasing more lower-cost store brand/generic grocery items rather than their preferred brands.

And most holiday shoppers said inflation is making it more likely they will shop more at mass-merchants or value-oriented stores rather than specialty or boutique retailers (76%) or will have to settle for more value brands this year (73%).

With consumers expected to be more careful with their discretionary income, here are four strategies that marketers expect to use in 2023:

Prepare for a Consumer Recession by Focusing on Value

Having a message that resonates with consumers will obviously be a winning strategy, but as they have less income, most will qualify their advertising messages in one of two ways: Promoting the value of what you’re selling or highlighting cost/price advantages over the competition, said Joe Karasin, CircleIt CMO.

“Explaining and communicating value to the consumer is usually the better method — consumers will still spend money during a recession if they see the value in what you are providing,” Karasin said. “Value-based advertising is also optimal because it is successful in all different economic situations. If you’re able to cut through the noise and resonate on an emotional or personal level with your ideal customer in your advertising, you will see increased ROAS. You can, of course, address the pain points of the recession, but it is better to stay on message with what your product or service brings to the lives of the customers you hope to acquire”

Big Village Insights/Caravan Survey Vice President Rich Tomasco agreed, “Messaging around value, quality and maximizing your hard-earned dollars should be front and center. Price-sensitive consumers will likely be more on the lookout for special promotions and ways to stretch their budgets while not sacrificing fun experiences for their families. This will require a lot of skill and creativity when designing campaigns, until the economy eventually stabilizes.”

Related Article: What Does Customer Success Look Like in an Economic Downturn?

Be Agile While Heading Into a Consumer Recession

The best marketers are heading into this period with a decision-making framework that is agile and rapid, according to Adam Rodgers, Leavened president.

Those marketers use forward-looking scenario planning — putting measured response to work by planning a media mix under different budget levels, competitive conditions and consumer needs, according to Rodgers. “Marketers need transparent understanding of what is behind consumer response — knowing what drives more than conversion but engagement and consideration.”

Embrace Lifecycle Marketing to Help Customers Adapt

The economic slowdown has accelerated a trend that was already taking hold: putting more emphasis on customer life cycle marketing, according to Ally Bancroft, director of global client practice at The Marketing Practice.

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