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Smart Spending in a Market Downturn

Rachel Witzel
Lead Digital Strategist

What you'll learn

  • Why you shouldn't stop spending in a market downturn
  • Smart spending strategies that will help you defend your budgets

What you'll need

  • A drive to create success in a downturn
  • An innovative approach to budget allocation

The Problem

The last few months have been filled with headlines announcing layoffs, budget cuts, and anxieties at one company after another in the face of a possible recession. And while organizations around the world are holding the purse strings a little tighter right now, history has shown us that this may not be the best strategy after all. When budgets are on the chopping block, it's time to defend why your marketing budget matters more than ever.

The Hypothesis

Some companies will be quick to pull back on marketing spend as they look to cut costs. This can provide an opportunity for those who are willing to continue to invest in marketing. By maintaining or even increasing spend, organizations can take share from those who are cutting back and find even greater success on the other side of the dip.

Still, it's imperative to be efficient with your marketing spend to get the most out of your budget. The key is to be strategic about your spend. Decide where you can most efficiently reach your target audience and message them in a way that resonates with the moment we find ourselves in right now.

The Solution

Hold and grow your share of voice

During a downturn, it's important to maintain the share of voice you've achieved under sunnier skies. If you pare your marketing budget down to the bare necessities, you'll lose the opportunity to keep your brand at the forefront of your audience's mind. When your competition cuts their budget and lowers the volume, maintain or even increase your budget and turn up the volume. At the very least, you'll be able to hold on to the SOV you currently have, but the odds are in your favor to win even more. If there's less noise competing for attention, you're in the best spot to turn more heads towards your brand.

Rethink media budgets and messaging

Just because you maintain or increase your spending doesn't mean you have to allocate dollars the same way you did in better economic times. A market downturn provides a great opportunity to re-evaluate your media budgets to focus on the channels that perform best. Reallocating dollars into content and channels that have proven a high ROI in the past can help shore up anxieties about the value of your marketing spend right now.

When thinking about which channels to keep and explore, take a moment to evaluate your messaging on these channels. For a TradFi or DeFi brand, a market downturn hits at the core insecurities your audiences harbors. How can your brand address these concerns with genuine care and assurances?

Don't be afraid to get experimental

A market downturn can also be a great time to dive into a new channel that provides valuable content for your audience. Maybe that's committing to a video strategy that feeds your website and social channels, maybe it's a podcast or digital learning modules that educate your audience and increase brand affinity. Just because things are uncertain doesn't mean it's not the right time to experiment.

Experiments don't have to be high-budget, incredibly polished, or a long-term commitment. Start with a quarter, or even a month, of testing your new channel with content that's "good enough" to uphold brand standards and commit to a regular publication and promotion cadence. If the experiment goes well, you can always make a case to add more budget and take things to a new level in the next quarter.

The Impact

In the long run, downturns and recessions don't last forever. And while it may be tempting to slashed budgets and hunker down, take a long-term view and think about how you can position your brand for the rebound.

What investments can you make now that will pay off when the economy improves? How can you position your brand so that it comes out of the recession stronger than ever?

Answering these questions isn't easy, but it's important to think about the long game. By making smart investments now, you can set your brand up for success when the economy eventually improves.

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