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The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the landscape for our lives in terms of physical contact with others, but it has also taken its toll on the economy as well. Companies have had to pivot their advertising strategies to cope with the pandemic and economic experts are forecasting a global recession that will test the mettle of many businesses around the world.

However, just because it’s looming, doesn’t mean a company can’t advertise during a recession. In fact, having a solid advertising plan during a recession could be the key to surviving—and even thriving—during tough economic times.

This article will reveal nine tips for advertising during a recession, with a focus on both digital advertising and print advertising, such as newspaper advertising.

Understand How Consumer Behaviors Change during a Recession

The first key to having a successful advertising strategy during a recession is to understand how your target customer’s priorities have changed. Fear and uncertainty reign supreme in tough economic times. However, just because the economy has slowed down, doesn’t necessarily mean consumers have stopped spending.

What one needs to understand is that consumer spending is different during a recession. There’s more thought that goes into each purchase (for example, is this a luxury or a necessity?).

Consumer needs can be sorted into four categories:

  1. Necessities: Those necessary items and services that are deemed essential
  2. Treats: Those justifiable luxury items that still exist for many in a recession
  3. Postponables: Those purchases that might be considered necessary but can be put off for a later date
  4. Expendables: Those items that are usually considered unjustifiable or even unnecessary and not likely acquired during a recession

Tailor Your Brand Voice to Your Target Audience

Just being in a recession is a huge negative and it can take its toll on your target audience. The last thing you want to do when advertising in a recession is to accentuate the negative.

It’s important for your brand to be reassuring and calm during these troubled times. Make your brand a place of solace for your target audience and they’ll keep coming back to you. If you use fear or “doom and gloom”, you might scare them off.

Rely on Data

If you haven’t done so at the best of times, now’s the time to really delve into your data.

Whether it’s your customer database behaviors, your marketing response rates or simply looking at seasonal trends now’s the time to do it. Dig down to see what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t worked. Find out as much about your customer’s habits and behaviors as possible

Rediscover the Brand

Sometimes when bad things happen, certain brands can shine. In a recession, for example, anyone who offers deep discounts might see a jump in business. Since saving as much money as possible is top of the consumer mindset, if you have a product or service that is cost-effective, you should consider putting it at the forefront of your recession advertising strategy.

Brands Can Demonstrate Leadership

Being one of the first brands to advertise during a recession (with a recession-focused campaign) can put your brand in the spotlight. Don’t be afraid to embrace the role of a leader by offering discounts or flexible options for your offerings.

You’ll find that a lot of companies might copy the strategy, but consumers will always remember you as the leader.

Focus on Existing Customers

While it’s natural to want to try and get new customers during a recession by pivoting to a recession-focused advertising strategy, it’s also important to remember your existing customers.

Make sure you connect with them personally. “Checking in” to see if they’re okay or seeing how you can help them will only strengthen the brand loyalty during these tough times. If you’re there for them during tough times, they’ll stay with you.

Stay Balanced. Be Smart

You’re going to want to increase your marketing budget, especially if your competitors have decreased theirs. However, do your research first. See what works, and what doesn’t and then hone and tailor your advertising to match.

For example, newspapers may see an uptick in remnant space as some companies drop their advertising budget. This can allow you to get back in at a discount. However, if newspaper ads didn’t work for you at the best of times, even this discounted rate might be a sunk cost.

Fill the Void That Big Spenders Left

Some of the bigger brands may have to cut down their advertising spending during a recession. This is where smaller brands may be able to jump in and take some of the market shares and steal some brand loyalty.

Stay updated with the trends and have a media buyer, like North American Media keep their finger on the pulse of the industry to get you the opportunities to advertise when they arise.

Take Advantage of Competitors’ Fears

Finally, during a recession, most companies are going to struggle. Some of them won’t survive and those are usually the ones that hesitate because of fear.

Be decisive and take informed action early to get ahead of your competition. In doing so, you can strengthen your brand during a recession and keep the momentum going after the recession ends to further build your brand and your company.

North American Media can assist you with both your print and digital marketing needs through copywriting, direct mail list rental, graphic design, web development, and full-service interactive consulting to help get your print and digital advertising noticed and converted. Our full line of services includes print media advertising in newspapers & magazines, direct mail marketing, digital marketing, alternative media/inserts, radio & TV advertising, list brokerage, data solutions, list fulfillment, and list management. For more information about how we can help grow your business, contact us at (475) 256 – 0303.