Is Recession Proof Business Marketing A Thing?

We all know more economic trouble is looming. Recession or even just the continuation of the seemingly endless uncertainty that grips the UK at the moment is causing business so much grief. How do we prepare when we don’t even know what's going to happen? Is there such a thing as recession proof business marketing

One of our biggest problems is the impact of all this uncertainty on our lead generation and customer acquisition activity. More simply, the pressure on sales and marketing effectiveness for our businesses.

The biggest issue with the modern marketer's playbook is our reliance on paid media. We are all now programmed by Google and Facebook to know we can only reach our desired audiences by paying to generate impressions or clicks.

We’ve also spent a long time building our businesses on ‘rented land’. That is, building social media likes and shares as they feel like real measurable and tangible results for our efforts. But where has this left us?

Digital marketing is now a ‘pay to play’ model. We pay to build an audience of fans on our social channels, and then pay to reach them with our promotions and sales messages. Increasingly, we even have to pay for normal brand communications too, as the social media giants make it harder and harder for us to reach our own audiences organically.

And consider all that traffic, those likes and shares, impressions and views etc. usually amount to single percentage point conversions. You could be unlucky as have as much as 99.9% of all that paid for audience drop through the sales funnels in your business without touching the sides. Leaving no trace they were ever there.

We are so grateful for the fairly predictable, albeit poor, returns we get, that we put up with the ‘wastage’.

Recession Proof Business Marketing - Beating the Paid Media Trap

But what happens during times of uncertainty? I hate to use the ‘B’ word, but Brexit means major change and economic impact that will be felt for many years. Irrespective of a deal or no deal exit from the EU. Many people are predicting recession. And some are even talking about it happening right now, still months out from our Oct 31st deadline.

The first thing that will happen to our marketing and sales under these conditions is that the return on advertising spend or ROAS will be put under enormous pressure. As the market contracts the money we need to spend to reach people increases. While the spend increases, efficiency, or conversion rates, decrease, making for a double whammy on our returns.

As advertising therefore gets much more expensive and results reduce, the tendency is to ‘pull back’ on our marketing expenditure. Even though we know are making it even harder for ourselves to compete.

There’s only one way forward. Some clever people have been talking about over reliance on social media and technology in marketing for a long time, and the strategy to compensate for this is the same now as it was then. And that's to build your business on your own land. Your own website. And connect with your customers in a really human way.

Of course, we won't be able to lose all reliance on paid channels, but we must get better at making use of the incredible opportunity the web presents us with. And by not taking the easy option of paying for our audience, but rather building it up and converting it ‘ourselves’ we can go a long way towards ensuring ourselves against the overwhelming outside pressures about to assail us.

I like to call this approach ‘Inbound’ marketing, a phrase coined by our partners HubSpot. In essence, to deal with the customers who are out there in a human and proactive way, rather than a spammy and overtly sales way. To provide them with the information and service levels that people are coming to expect from modern companies, not to ‘pitch and stitch’ or leave customers high and dry after they have made a purchase.

We need to confidently educate our customers and create safe places for them to feedback to us and review our products and services, without worrying about high pressure sales people or hyperbolic claims and fake reviews, or even internet trolls making stuff up just to discredit the competition.

And above all, to do this in an environment, our websites, that's safe and secure, protective of the customers data, owned by us, designed for us, and for our customer. The place to find information on our products and services, be open about the pros and cons. Where potential customers can seek affirmation from like minded people about our products and to get a high level of service 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Today this is easier than ever to do. A HubSpot license will certainly set you up brilliantly. But there are several ways to skin that particular cat. But it's really important to make a start now. Don’t waste time putting it off any longer.

You might need some initial guidance to get yourself on the road to self reliance and to recession proof your business marketing. And at Real Inbound we are more than happy to help you kick off the journey with a free Inbound assessment to help guide your next steps.

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Tony Dowling

FCIM | HubSpot Platinum Partner | Revenue Consultant | HubSpot Certified Trainer | South Wales HUG Leader | | 07812 582213

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