In spite of rising wages, low employment rates, and a growing GDP, rumors and rumbles of a coming recession still have many companies looking for areas where costs can be cut and belts tightened. If that scenario resonates with you, then you’ll want these tips for making the most of your marketing budget in 2023.
Rethink Your Goals
If you’re certain that buyers will spend less in the coming months, then you likely also expect a dip in revenue. It’s certainly possible, unless your brand is considered essential, such as food and beverage staples, cleaning products, and the like. Even with essentials, you could see numbers fall just like everyone else.
That doesn’t mean that you should throw up your hands and cancel the marketing. In fact, the opposite is necessary. While you may not expect as many purchases during this time, you do need to ensure that your brand stays top of mind throughout any rough seasons so that you’re still number one on the list when your buyers are ready to spend.
As important as sales numbers and revenue are, increasing your reach and influence during a recession is also important. These numbers may be harder to nail down, but when you do, they’re a great way to keep an eye on your exposure growth.
If you do decide to cut your marketing budget in 2023, forgoing even those marketing activities that will make sure your brand remains visible, you can be sure a competitor is waiting to fill the void you leave behind.
Use Word of Mouth When Possible
Some marketing strategies that keep you top of mind during a recession don’t have to involve a lot of spending. Word of mouth marketing is still the most powerful kind there is, and you can harness that for your brand.
Word of mouth marketing has taken on a few different identities over the past few years, starting with reviews and testimonials and growing into influencer marketing across various social media platforms. The very best scenario is when a customer is so delighted with your products or services that they leave a review or share their thoughts about your brand on social media without being prompted or paid.
Now, because humans tend to remember negative experiences more than positive ones, gaining unprompted reviews is an uphill battle. Only the finest customer experience will result in unsolicited praise. So, be ready to solicit the praise. Send out review and testimonial requests. Engage your brand advocates—those who already use your brand and love it. Practice social listening on various platforms to see what buyers are saying and engage with any comments that appear to be positive. Finally, share any of the positive feedback you receive, whether solicited or freely given, so that your audience can see what others think.
Lean on Organic Results
Paid social media and Google ads can certainly help speed up the process, but these tools can also work on a budget—if you know how to make the most of them. Organic SEO results and social media growth can be powerful marketing forces, but they do require some knowledge of best practices to make then worth your while. In other words, you may not need to spend your budget on ads, but you’ll need a marketing expert on your side who understands those best practices and can do the necessary legwork to produce results.
Solid knowledge of SEO strategy can help with both your website and your social media results, but each require a different set of skills. With your website, you can increase your chances of appearing in search results by creating fresh, quality content that includes the most likely search terms potential buyers will use to find you. Search terms can also help you get found on social media platforms without the need for social ads. You can increase organic exposure with the use of hashtags, both trending and those unique to your business or products.
There are a couple of benefits to organic results, the first of which is that they don’t require additional advertising dollars to achieve. The second, which is crucial when measuring, is that you can be sure the people who discover you through organic search and social media are your target audience.
This is only a stopgap, of course. Paid ads are crucial to reaching new audiences. When the budget does allow, even in smaller amounts, continuous ad placement is recommended—particularly with the assistance of an expert in SEO and search marketing.
Examine Marketing Leadership
One big mistake many executives make when it’s time to cut budgets is to lay off marketing leaders and expect younger, less experienced marketers to handle both the strategy and the execution of marketing activities. Big mistake.
If you want to make the most of your marketing budget in 2023, you must have a leader at the helm. I know that’s sometimes hard to justify, especially if cutting costs is a must, but you really need someone who’s well versed in strategy. Would you put a new recruit in charge of sailing the ship during a hurricane?
Fortunately, you have options, one of which is a Fractional CMO. If you’re in between marketing executives, haven’t yet hired a marketing leader, or simply need to cut your marketing budget without losing the expertise a leader brings, then I’m here to help. You can rely on a seasoned marketing expert with years of experience helping companies of all sizes—whether on staff, providing agency services, or working with them as a Fractional CMO. Together, we can devise marketing goals for 2023, determine a strategy to put in place if the recession ever does hit, and keep your brand top of mind.