You’ve seen the news headlines: job losses, employee lay-off, benefit reduction, decline in consumer spending, reduced consumer access, reduced marketing budgets, reduction in manufacturing activities, and forecasts of more bad economic news to come.
Each headline reflects the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: devastated businesses, closed borders, and crippled economic growth of some countries that have been affected, not by only the coronavirus pandemic, but also by the current war in Ukraine.
Is investing in B2B still important for the growth of your business during an economic recession that is clothed by such apparent issues? Yes, it is important! But first and foremost, are we in a recession?
What is an economic recession?
Popular definition states that a recession refers to a period of economic recession, usually defined by two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth when adjusted for a country’s real GDP. The NBER committee states that: “A recession is a significant decline in activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, visible in industrial production, employment, real income, and wholesale-retail trade”.
It won’t be completely wrong to say that the second definition reflects the current state of many economies around the world. So, even if we all don’t agree that we’re in a recession, the signs that it is either here or lurking around are evident and too hard to ignore. These are the most common challenges that have made respondents of companies nervous during a recession:
- drop in demand for products
- increase in pressure on prices
- likelihood of budgets getting slashed or canceled
- uncertainty and volatility in the marketplace
- difficulty in forecasting constantly changing customer needs
- fear of investing resources in acquiring new customers
- difficulty in determining appropriate B2B marketing strategies to employ
Despite the challenges you may face during a recession, it’s important to continue investing in B2B marketing because there are still benefits in recessions which can be exploited to attract more profits, increase market shares, and grow businesses.
10 Tips for investing in B2B marketing without incurring too much risk during an economic recession
Although recessions can adversely affect the potential profits of B2B companies and their long-term survival, it doesn’t mean you have to quit. Not everybody or all companies are evenly affected by recessions.
Some companies use recessions as stepping stones to higher and greater heights: they invest aggressively, expand much more, and gain advantage over their subpar competitors, while many others withdraw and wait for recessions to end.
During economic recessions, consumers still spend their money, although maybe not as intensively as before. A recession is perfect for investing in B2B marketing to bring more attention to your products or services.
Use the following ten tips to invest in B2B marketing strategies wisely without taking too much risk during a recession:
1. Focus first and foremost on retaining and keeping your existing/current customer base (customers and partners) satisfied before worrying about attracting and winning over new ones. Ensure that your marketing strategies target your most valuable and happiest customers.
2. Invest more in B2B lead generation to help potential or new customers find you online: strengthen your email, direct mail, digital marketing, telemarketing, social media advertising, and SEO campaigns to increase your visibility; without them, you’re business would hardly grow and attract new customers.
Eighty percent of marketers claim that email is the best way to access and attract new customers. According to recent McKinsey research on decision makers’ behavior globally across industries since the economic recession began, more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers now prefer remote or digital self-serve and human engagement over face-to-face interactions. This thought steadily intensified even after the COVOD-19 lockdowns ended in some parts of the world.
3. Don’t trim or cancel your marketing budget. While many markets and companies are slowing down operations and cutting costs, think of it as reducing the competition and making it more likely for leads to focus on companies that are ever-present.
4. Offer customer loyalty programs to increase brand awareness and make your customers more loyal, even after an economic recession.
5. Make frequent assessments of customer satisfaction levels and request testimonials from customers to help validate your business by differentiating your brand from others. Research has found that 30% of potential consumers trust online reviews and purchase products based on reviews.
6. Seek for validation from third–party experts to enhance your new product/service’s reputation and credibility. According to Dr. Eric George, Forbes Council Member and Founder and CEO of ERG Enterprises, B2B companies can thrive during a recession by gaining approval from companies or independent third parties that are trusted in the industry.
7. Reduce your prices to stimulate sales, but reduce them with minimal effect on margins because it’s impossible to be profitable in the medium to long term if prices are slashed without considering profit margins.
8. Your marketing campaigns should emphasize products or services for houses because we tend to stay more at home and surround ourselves with products that can give us reassurance and security at home.
9. Expand into new markets that have at least some potential, then find your customers. Every economic recession presents the opportunity to expand into new markets where your products/services are either unknown or needed.
10. Use data gathering and tracking programs (such as Google Analytics) to help identify the needs of your target market, evaluate consumer trends and the pattern of your sales reports, and employ the best marketing strategies to enhance your brand and sales.