Why Down Times Call for More Marketing, Not Less

Jul 5, 2023

Tips From The A-Team

The foreman of an orchard reported to the owner that the trees were growing fewer apples and only on the higher and harder-to-reach branches. What should we do, the foreman asked.

Let’s spend less on ladders, the owner said.

That doesn’t make sense, but many businesses react similarly during economic downturns by cutting their marketing and PR budgets, the very things that generate sales and visibility.

We asked our team of experts for their thoughts on why marketing, PR and social media are more important than ever in difficult times. Here’s what they had to share.

A good agency will work with clients to get the most out of a reduced budget, says Senior Account and Content Director Michelle Noteboom: “The right PR team will help you find ways to maximize the value of your PR investment by creatively repurposing well-crafted thought leadership content and earned media placements.”

Tough times often lead to increased competition for a shrinking pie. Doing less marketing puts a company at a disadvantage, says VP Marcia Rhodes: “PR can help differentiate a company from its competitors by highlighting its unique value proposition, featuring its strengths, and showcasing success stories. Effective PR can position a company as a thought leader, innovator, or industry expert, giving it a competitive edge and attracting clients who are seeking stability and reliability.”

Tough times don’t last forever, but tough companies do. Smart companies will take the opportunity during a downturn to position themselves for when the economy recovers, says Senior Account Director Mardi Larson. “Remaining top of mind among your key audiences is important so when conditions improve, they’ll remember you. Plus, with competing companies falling out of the PR field, it’s time to pounce and seize the opportunity to amplify and own your position in the marketplace through earned media,” she says.

“The No. 1 mistake I see companies make during tough economic times is cutting their marketing and PR when, in fact, marketing and PR are what is going to bring your company awareness, which, as we know, leads to business,” says Katlyn Nesvold, Senior Account Director.

An economic slowdown is the time to dig in, says Senior Social Media Account Director Michelle Smith. “In a down economy, investing in your brand and social media presence is crucial for standing out, establishing yourself as an industry leader, and attracting new business opportunities. By creating a unique brand voice and consistently sharing valuable content, you can build credibility and differentiate yourself from the competition, ensuring your business thrives even in challenging times.”

In times of economic uncertainty, businesses want to work with vendors they trust, says Grace Vinton, Account Director and Media Specialist. “Having a solid PR program can help you build that industry trust and help you close the deals you’re trying to close,” she says.

If a downturn prevents a business from creating new marketing content, it can always recycle old material, says Account Manager Maddie Noteboom: “Content marketing can cost far less than traditional marketing, making it one of the most cost-effective methods to connect to your target audience. One low-cost content marketing strategy I recommend to clients is a content refresh. Dig into the archives of old blog posts, ebooks, white papers and infographics, and update them with new insights, fresher graphics, and revamped SEO.”

The experts agree. If you want to harvest apples, invest in ladders.