Home Data-Driven Thinking When A Recession Hits, Don’t Pull Back Your Advertising

When A Recession Hits, Don’t Pull Back Your Advertising

Tom Shea, Co-Founder & CRO, Adgile Media Group

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

With the pandemic continuing to cause buying behavioral shifts and surging consumer prices, economists around the country are placing their bets on an impending recession in 2023. And brand marketers are in a precarious position as they evaluate how to prepare their strategies for this potential downturn.

Previous economic crashes show a lack of preparation, as companies reactively slashed ad spend and deprioritized marketing to stay afloat.

But if they actually take time to prepare and establish recession-proof tactics this time around, they are much more likely to not only survive a decline but come out of it profitably.

There is no “one size fits all” approach, so get creative

It’s no secret that, even in a perfect world, the “rules” of marketing are constantly changing. A recession is only going to exacerbate the inconsistency tenfold. You’ll do yourself a favor if you understand now that there is no blanket strategy. Instead of panicking or throwing in the towel, a brand marketer needs to be able to pivot and get creative.

That means trying things you haven’t before: reallocating digital budgets to lean heavily toward retargeting, investing in retail strategy or taking top-of-funnel prospecting offline.  

Stick with the market – don’t stop investing

While the knee-jerk reaction during a bear market is to sell and cash out (or in a marketer’s world, cut budgets and expenses), we really should be doing the opposite.

Think of it like this: If we can assume most marketers will follow suit with trends of the past, they’ll pull back their efforts when the recession hits. That’ll leave your company to swoop in and take over a larger market share. While your competitors are disappearing from your target consumer’s eye, an intentional marketing strategy could increase your business’s presence and revenue. 

Just make sure you’re well-diversified in your advertising strategies. If all your eggs are in one advertising basket, you’re increasing the risk of financial failure should that singular avenue take a dive. With the marketplace transitioning into a buyer’s market, now is a great time to place small bets on emerging ad technologies to test and trial.


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Prioritize first-party data

Consumer behaviors are affected during a recession, and not necessarily in the same way every time. Smart first-party data is crucial to keeping up with changing behaviors so that your campaigns remain relevant and timely.

 When it comes to marketing, data-driven efforts are king. But acquiring third-party data has become increasingly difficult – especially after iOS14.5. If you’re not careful, third-party can drive up expenses without adding value to your campaigns, and the ROI on third-party data is minuscule compared to the return you get when analyzing consumers that have clear intent data. 

Now more than ever, brand marketers need to establish self-sustainability by capitalizing on their first-party data and using the strong intent data they already have in-house to drive sales.

Don’t wait. Prepare now. 

It’s true, we can’t be certain a recession is coming. But this is not the first to threaten the country’s economy, and it will certainly not be the last. 

History has and will continue to prove that brands that prioritize their marketing budgets and implement a recession-proof strategy not only survive but flourish while their peers perish. 

It’s not enough to wait for the other shoe to drop. Brands should be planning and executing recession-proof marketing strategies now.

Follow Tom Shea (@Tshea0314), Adgile (@AdgileMediaGrp) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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