What Marketing to Use During a Recession

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Every marketplace is different and requires unique strategies designed to prosper. While a recession can be challenging, business leaders recognize a recession as part of the normal ebb and flow of business cycles. Knowing how to weather the storm can strengthen your business and provide the confidence necessary to look forward with optimism.

New business owners often cut their marketing budget as a way to manage cash flow in response to recessionary constraints. This knee jerk reaction has proven to be a bad idea. Harvard Business School reports that brands that make the decision to increase advertising budgets position themselves to gain market share and reap higher ROI benefits.

That does not mean marketing money should be wasted. Promoting just the “right image” is more important than ever during recessionary times. Below are some tips about how to advertise during a recession.

Leverage your Social Media

A vital marketing tool that is affordable and excellent for reaching out to past customers is social media. HuffPost stresses the importance of being visible during recessionary times as a voice offering helpful advice and hope. Sharing relevant and useful information that will help your customers on social media platforms is sure to reap positive goodwill and future business.

For example, a timely bit of information that many small businesses are seeking is how best to obtain government bailout loans and other monetary help. Any business that can provide tips about this type of essential information will be viewed as an ally instead of just another business trying to sell them something during a stressful period of time.

Establishing a loyal customer base via social media outreach campaigns can make all the difference. Business survival during lean times depends heavily on customer retention and affordable marketing. Well-run social media campaigns accomplish both of these key objectives.

Considering that more people go online every single day, social media is positioned to become an even greater force in the future than it is today. The key to social media marketing is identifying the best platform. Where do your prospects spend their time? Once you know the answer to that question, establishing a compelling social media campaign is much easier.

Send Thoughtful Postcards

Forbes reports that during recessionary times, direct mail advertising can bolster sales growth in the short-term. Postcards are especially cost-effective. Companies like Wise Pelican provide postcards at 70 cents each with no minimum order.

Colorful and attractive postcards with uplifting messages and encouragement keep your company’s name in your customer’s mind as a helpful voice. Adopting the right tone during hard times as a friendly ally can provide a competitive advantage, in sharp contrast to other marketing messages that utilize a direct sales pitch that can be viewed as insensitive and brusque given the current business environment.

Send Care Packages to Previous Clients

While the idea of sending a care package is often associated with sending a college student some food and supplies to their dormitory room, this unique way of showing care can also be used in the business world. During a recession, business leaders are all seeking a life raft as they navigate the new marketplace. If you send a package of goodies designed more for a business, then you can set yourself apart and pass on helpful information to a client or new prospect.

While good information is always appreciated, food items, hand sanitizer, water bottles and other items that everybody uses are great ideas to fill up a gift basket that is sure to grab the attention of any business leader. The idea of sending a care package is a tried and true way to keep your business brand in mind the next time they need what you provide.

Host and Participate in Community Events

During hard times, the givers are always appreciated and recognized. Your company can easily become a major leader in your community by participating in community events. In a busy and bustling world where time often limits our ability to participate in community events, recessionary times bring people together in a common mission of helping each other.

Aligning your corporate image with a related community event always makes sense. For example, if you are a dentist, then it might be a good idea to participate in a community health fair. You can hand out free dental floss or toothpaste as a show of support for your community.

Sponsor or Host Charitable Events

Charitable events have always been recognized as a proven way to build relationships and get your name in front of a lot of people quickly. During recessionary times, promoting your corporate image by hosting or participating in charity events is an excellent vehicle for establishing your business as a caring member of the community that is committed to serving others.

Charitable events tend to attract large numbers of influential people who have disposable income. This fact is important to remember for business owners who depend heavily on this type of customer.

Partner with Compatible Businesses for Marketing Purposes

Forging marketing partnerships provides an excellent way to leverage relationships for a win-win result. The first step is to identify other non-competing companies that have common prospects. For example, an attorney and an accountant might join forces to market to small businesses who are likely to need what they both have to offer.

Retail companies that sell directly to consumers can also benefit from this type of partnership. For example, a landscaper and home cleaning service that provides services to a local community can send out postcards or some other marketing material, sharing the expense.

A few ways that companies partner for the benefit of both businesses is via direct mail, joint email campaigns, referral agreements, and joint sales calls. This idea of combining resources to reap benefits for partners is not a new one. Many industry leaders with decades of success consider these types of partnerships to be an essential part of their marketing strategy.


There is always some good news during any recession. Many companies actually grow and prosper during challenging times. Knowing the best marketing strategies necessary to continue to grow when other companies struggle is critical for success.   

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