One day it’s up; the next, it’s down.
The only certainty about the economy today is that it’s in flux—and that both individuals and businesses react to the fluctuations.
As your audience responds to these ups and downs, you must adjust both your marketing and content strategies to adapt to their evolving feelings. This article explains all you need to know.
Does the Economy Really Matter?
Even though a recession has been predicted by many experts over the past year, it has not materialized. Employment numbers are solid, and inflation is slowing. Despite this, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product fell to 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023, a significant drop from 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The lack of clear economic direction creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. Even though much of the economic news today is positive, many consumers (individuals and businesses) are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Buyers are afraid to commit to making big purchases because they’re waiting for the economy to crater. They have no idea what to expect or when to expect it. If this continues for long enough, it could cause what people and businesses most fear: a stalled economy.
Business owners and marketers must be proactive and be ready to respond to how their customers react—and react again—to an evolving economy.
Monitor Your Customers in Real Time
Three types of buyers typically result from an economic downturn; those who:
Save now. People or businesses that cut all unnecessary expenses and start a savings program.
Conserve. Individuals or companies that don’t make cuts or buy anything unusual.
Seek opportunities. Consumers or companies that spend on things to allow them to make the most of a challenging situation, for instance, businesses stocking up on products at fire sale prices to sell when inventory costs increase.
Check to see how the people in your consumer base respond to a recession or other economic crisis. Leverage ongoing conversations and surveys to stay up-to-date with the mindset of the people you want to do business with.
Once you know, incorporate the applicable new persona attributes into your marketing strategies and tactics and the content you develop and distribute. By understanding the changing feelings and needs of your buyer base, you can create campaigns and materials that resonate with your consumers.
Tip: It’s always important to stay connected with your sales team. However, it’s critical during changing economic times. Salespeople (and, in many cases, customer service reps) act as your frontline with prospects and customers. They can help you uncover what they think and need.
Are Your Campaigns and Content Wrong for Right Now?
Once you update your buyer personas based on new economic concerns and behaviors, it’s time for a marketing and content audit to ensure your current materials and campaigns remain meaningful to those in your target audience. Make sure nothing seems out of touch or insensitive in the current environment.
Checking analytics as a part of the audit can be an excellent way to identify issues and opportunities. For example, a significant drop or increase in traffic or engagement with a campaign or piece of content could indicate an opportunity to change something that’s no longer working and do more of what is.
What’s critical is that business owners and marketers be prepared to pivot to meet the needs of the people they are marketing to and communicating with.
Tip: Repurposing materials that still perform well in the current economy can be a great way to fill gaps. For example, you could edit down longer-form videos into a fun TikTok series. Or, consider turning quotes from a popular blog article into a social media carousel. You might even be able to expand a successful social post into a long-form piece.
Be Bold and Don’t Hold Back
Much like those “save now” consumers, some businesses are tempted to give up and hide out in an economic crisis. You may also feel the urge to weather a downturn by performing only the most necessary day-to-day marketing tasks. These are typically the wrong moves.
Instead, rethink your marketing and content. If you’re stretched tight, consider outsourcing the basics so you can focus on innovative things that can help you succeed in a challenging economy. Developing innovative campaigns and content in-house works typically better because your product and service experts can more readily help hone and refine them. This could allow you to beat competitors who outsource timely materials.
Resist the temptation to put projects on hold or cut them back. If a campaign is worth doing, continue to execute it right. It can help prevent losing momentum if a downturn is a short one.
Marketing in a Challenging Economy: The Bottom Line
Your customers and prospects want to be seen and heard by your brand. They need to know you understand them. In a fluctuating economy, their feelings, wants, needs, and spending may change, and your marketing and content strategies must adapt to reflect those new patterns. If you don’t, customers will turn to competitors who “get” them better.
To understand the changing needs of the people you’re targeting, review your marketing and content data and stay connected with your customers and prospects, along with your salespeople and customer service reps.
Now is not the time to be stuck in your ways. Instead, embrace change. Consumers will recognize your efforts to understand them and want to do business with you even if the economy is shaky.