A guide to marketing in a recession

In a post-pandemic world, some form of large recession appears, sadly, all but inevitable. Yet while every downturn is different, there are best practices for marketing in a recession; a clear set of guidelines that we can follow. 

While economies might protract for a number of reasons, how marketing responds can follow a similar process each time. The reason is that while recessions change, the fundamental principles behind marketing don’t: what questions you need to ask of your clients, your products, your investment strategy, and so on, all remain the same. 

This is because the ultimate principal of marketing is identifying and meeting needs profitably, and it always will be.

‘Profitably’ is a tricky word during a recession. When there is a tightening of resources in the market, who, how and when you try to sell to customers needs rethinking. Product offerings and pricing strategy will need to be adapted. And medium-term strategic objectives will need to orient around survival and eventual recovery. Profitability comes shortly after (hopefully!)

That’s why this guide is going to take us through: 

  • Understanding your customer in a recession
  • Brand positioning, pricing strategy
  • Where to invest marketing spend
  • Communication
  • The structure of product portfolios, and;
  • Establishing businesses for recovery

We then want to put each area in the context of today’s environment, and see if we can begin to predict how COVID-19 will change these activities, and for how long. 

It is indeed too early to make concrete calls, but we can explore some clear pointers about how best to approach this truly unique set of circumstances. 

Get ready for:

  1. Understanding your new customer psychology ‍- Will the consumer behavior in a ‘Corona-recession’ be different to other global crises?
  2. Where should you invest your marketing spend during a recession?  -should you spend differently in this recession? 
  3. During a recession, don’t erode your brand value – How will brands be valued during the Coronavirus pandemic?
  4. How should you be communicating with your customers at this time? – Keep communicating, and argue for your value 
  5. Getting your pricing right during a recession – How will pricing be affected during a short, deep recession? 
  6. Streamline your product portfolio, focus on efficiency – Focus on products with margin, whilst listening to your customers
  7. Finally, prepare yourself for recovery

CHAPTER 1: Understanding your new customer psychology

Great marketing really gets under the customer’s skin — in a good way! It taps into what makes them tick, and speaks directly to their heart and mind. So let’s start with how we normally understand the relationship between marketing initiatives and consumers. 

Memorable marketing initiatives are created when a business forms a genuine connection with a cohort of people by understanding their needs or desires, and reflecting back a message they resonate with.  

Like Nike’s “Just Do It”  campaign, the world’s most successful marketing campaigns connect with an aspiration that many of us share. It makes us look at a product, service or brand and say to ourselves: ‘Yes. This is what I need, for me, now’. 

But how does a business get a customer to think that way? 

It begins with market research. The team makes a set of assumptions — about customer feelings, perceptions or desires — and then they go out into the world to test their understanding. Through focus groups or data analysis, they’re able to understand how people are behaving, and then they produce a campaign that helps connect emotional responses to the company’s product. 

Market Research

This is the heart of marketing; understanding your customers needs, desires and behavior. 

A recession period doesn’t change this fundamental point. If anything, market research becomes even more important. 

Why? Because recessionary pressures create behavioral responses that we don’t see during growth periods. Traditional demographics based around gender, profession, or education (for individuals) and company size, industry, or growth stage (for businesses) can become secondary to recessionary psychology. 

Recessionary psychology is how our instinctual behaviors change under a perception of diminishing resources. 

Put simply, it’s whether hearing about a recession makes you want to immediately save your pennies, or whether you think things will turn out OK. To react drastically, cautiously, or optimistically? 

And it is those reactions and behaviors that you now have to understand. 

The Harvard Business Review broke these behaviors into four cohorts, that will determine how likely people are to continue purchasing in a downturn. Whilst originally constructed to understand consumer behavior, we can extrapolate it to understand business behaviors too: 

  1. Slam on the brakes: This group feels the most susceptible to the crisis and drastically limits all spending immediately. The current crisis has forced more people and businesses into this category than we have ever seen before, as entire industries, such as hospitality, have had to shutter overnight. 
  1. Pained but patient: This cohort is more resilient but cautious over medium and long term recovery prospects. In today’s context, this may be retail brands who can see opportunities to expand their online operations, but are cautious of a protracted recession and physical store overheads. 
  1. Comfortably well off: This section of businesses and individuals are able to maintain their spending at pre-recession levels, albeit slightly more selectively. Businesses like Zoom, that have seen their registered users explode due to the rise in working from home, would be here. 
  1. Live for today: More frivolous than other cohorts, this group continues to spend with little consideration to the prevailing economic headwinds. This may typically include well-funded pre-revenue startups who don’t yet need to rely on consumer demand to survive. 

These groups, based on behavioral attributes, will then categorize their purchases into different levels of necessity. 

  1. Essential: These purchases are necessary for survival and will always continue to be purchased —but what is “essential” is not set in stone. The backdrop of a recession that changes how we physically and operationally work together will alter this significantly. Office rent, for example, may become non-essential, at the same time as HD cameras and communication software become mandatory.
  1. Treats: Indulgences which you can justify for immediate purchase. Generally that justification might take the form of morale boosting, i.e. something we need to keep ourselves in good spirits and high productivity. 
  1. Postponables: Something you need, but that you can put off purchasing at a later date. Companies will naturally want to classify several of their purchases in this way, postponing outgoings until cash flow is looking healthier. 
  1. Expendables: Everything that is unnecessary and can no longer be justified. This, of course, is not how you want your business to be perceived. 

During a recession, your job as a marketer is to understand which category of recessionary psychology your new and existing clients will fall into, how that will affect their purchase behavior, and how you as a business can respond to their adjusted priorities. 

Whilst you may orientate more initiatives toward those who are both ‘comfortably well-off’ and who treat your product as essential, it’s important to remember that you can continue to nurture other groups, especially those who will begin spending again once we return to stronger economic times. 

To do so, you will need to segment all your clients and targets by recessionary psychology and how necessary your product or service is to them.  Then, you’ll develop a new, super targeted and engaging content plan based around a new strategic message per cohort.

Consider the following strategic messaging approaches to the following cohorts: 

  • Comfortably well-off

If you already have a great relationship with these clients and customers, then, ensure communication contact remains high. You could also  consider sharing case studies of how you are helping other businesses at this time, to gently remind them how you can be used to tackle any new challenges. For acquisition, continue to produce and share thought-leading content. Remember to include calls to action to move them through the sales funnel.

  • Pained but patient 

For both existing and new clients, provide supportive, analytical, educational content that can help a business survive. Produce guides, ebooks or webinars that give best practices for strategic decisions in a downturn. Understand purchase decisions may be protracted, so anticipate creating genuinely useful content that engages over a longer period of time.

  • Slam on the brakes

Here, the role of content is to convince these customers that your product or service is still essential. This will have varying degrees of possibility considering your product and the client’s circumstance. Start with research. Explore their current pain-points and concerns. Really know, inside-out, how your business provides both the best possibility of business survival, and growth in the future. Then share that insight with them. Avoid light-hearted, inconsequential content, as it won’t do much good.

  • Live for the moment

Focus on content that builds a sense of ‘missing out’, by either sharing client success stories or data that highlights how the use of your product or service can take a business to the next level. This is the only segment that will continue to enthusiastically reach out for this messaging, so make doubly-sure to target, target, target. These messages can appear tone deaf to other segments. 

Will the consumer behavior in a ‘Corona-recession’ be different?

Let’s not try to sugar-coat it: we’re in an exceptionally difficult situation. Never before in modern times have millions of people been confined to their homes for weeks (or months) on end, resulting in the wholesale shutdown of global services and industry. 

That means that, psychologically, we’re all going through something that is without research, and without understanding. We could estimate that this would certainly reduce the amount of people that remain confidently bullish through the coming months. 

However, we don’t know. What is certain, is the novelty of this situation further stresses that businesses should not cut down on their market research. 

But there are reasons to remain positive. Once we have found methods to effectively ‘beat’ COVID-19, either by collective action or vaccine, pent up demand should be huge. 

The bounce out of recession could be quick. Moreover, governments may introduce initiatives such as Universal Basic Income that sustain consistent purchasing capacity. 

Long term, this experience could help us avert the worse effects of climate change. 

If these optimistic predictions of the crisis begin to take hold, it can mitigate the very worse outcomes, and mass psychological reaction could alter rapidly. 

Or… we could have it all wrong. Businesses and individuals may be reacting to nothing more than perceived threats. After all, we’re all just going day by day at the moment aren’t we? It’s all we can really do. 

Whether or not we can clearly see an end to the Corona-crisis will be the ultimate defining factor on how this recession plays out. 

The bottom line? Keep monitoring your industry, continue to listen to customers, and adapt your message accordingly. 

CHAPTER 2: Where should you invest your marketing spend during a recession? 

Recessions mean that resources become scarce, and marketing often takes a disproportionate hit. It’s an easy target, as cuts to advertising, events and other promotional activities can be quickly removed from the budget without firing anyone. It feels like a faceless victim. 

However, indiscriminate cuts to your marketing are only going to postpone the pain. 

Remember: marketing means customers, and customers are your best chance of survival. Eliminated, severely reduced, or misdirected marketing spend will only hasten a business’s demise. Whilst correctly targeted, efficient marketing will be vital to not only weathering the storm of global recession, but coming out stronger on the other side. 

What’s more, recessions give you the space to double down on longer term goals, whilst other areas of your business are a little quieter. As clients enter longer purchasing cycles and consideration times, your spend on activities further down the funnel can be redirected up the funnel to help build wider awareness and consideration. 

Businesses that maintain, or even increase, their share of voice (how much of the conversation with target consumers your brand owns versus your competitors) during a recession will not only survive, but eventually thrive. 

This is because your share of voice and share of market are directly correlated. The more you are able to establish yourself as a voice of trust and authority, the more business will flow to you. 

Moreover, as some of your competitors’ psychology invariably falls into a ‘slam on the brakes’ mindset, the reduction in noise can open up space for you to be heard. For those that have the capacity and tenacity, recessions can provide a unique opportunity to gain awareness. 

Let’s take a look at some exciting areas to focus your marketing dollars: 

Highly focused content creation

Not all content is created equal. During growth periods, light content that has an undefined target and unknown function can get away with justifying itself due to keeping up a communication flow. But in a recession? No. Your content needs to have a clearly defined role based on the client or lead’s recession psychology and their needs. Tone, function, and quality take on renewed importance.

Search Engine Optimization     

SEO is a long haul. It can take months, maybe years, to see the real fruits of your labor. A recession gives your marketing team the time to focus on doing the groundwork here. In addition, investing in your online visibility is an asset that will reap dividends in the future.

Market research

You should always have a keen understanding of your customer and their behaviors. But when they are going through recessionary fluctuations, it’s more important than ever to understand how they’re being affected. As we’ve said, the dramatic nature of this recession will mean market recession is hugely important to business survival.

Lead generation and nurturing

Now is the time to fill your database and nurture your leads in a longer cycle than usual. Whilst economic times are tough, purchase decisions are delayed but people don’t disappear. So you can still attract potential customers and start relationships with them, building trust consistently over time. Create quality newsletters that don’t focus on selling, but instead establish thought leadership and brand awareness. 

Lead generation and nurturing

So now we’ve established where you might want to focus your efforts, where could you actually save some spend? After all, all departments are likely to be asked to make some sacrifices. 


Events are often high cost with intangible ROIs. In any recession, events are likely to suffer. Considering the corona pandemic, all participation in 2020 can be put on the back burner. 

Cost-per-click advertising

Banner ads focus on buyers further down the sales funnel, and recessionary pressures are likely to reduce the amount of prospects here. Whilst competition, and therefore cost per click, may go down, your spend on clicks is more likely to be ‘dead money’ that offers no return further down the line.

Multiple products lines

If you have a wide range of products, don’t continue to market them all with the same funding as before. Assess profitability and suitability for market conditions and reallocate funds to products that have the best chance of survival and healthy returns. 

New market entry

Be it a new geographical area or product feature, any move into a new market can be put on ice until conditions improve. 

During a recession, marketers are asked to do less with more, and the best way to leverage your spend is to put it behind high quality creative. Evergreen content will bring value now and in the future, whilst content that is laser-focused on its role in the buying cycle will help nurture prospects effectively. 

Should you spend differently during this recession? 

The defining characteristic of this recession is that it has been brought about by humanity being asked to isolate at home on a global scale. 

An inevitable consequence is that we all spend more time on our screens. Our dependence on screens was already increasing, and now with an enforced collapse in face-to-face interaction, a closure of public spaces and cessation of opportunities to do activities, our remaining options are (pretty much all) based online. 

And whilst that’s bad news for that gym routine you were just starting to enjoy 5 days a week. It does present a great opportunity for your content marketing.

Creative, quality content has growing potential to attract and engage interested leads, and companies should ensure that they audit their content efforts. Where they’re seen to be lacking, companies should invest their marketing spend here. 

CHAPTER 3: During a recession, don’t erode your brand value

Your brand is that intangible thing that can take years to build, but that can become ruined almost overnight. 

Months and years of consistent customer care, quality output, diligent service, sharing of informative content, and reputation for consistency can be eroded dramatically and rapidly if the wrong strategic moves are made during a recession. 

Furthermore, certain dangers begin to lurk during a recession that can affect your brand in a different way to a growth period. 

As marketers begin to tighten belts or tackle difficult periods, issues can arise: 

Don’t go silent

If there’s a reduction in your content output, it can seriously harm your share of voice. Businesses need to understand that a brand doesn’t get ‘frozen’ if marketing efforts are frozen. Clients will form an opinion about your brand whether you’re managing it or not, and silent blogs and a sudden drop in above-the-line reflect inactivity, which is always going to be negative. 

Don’t be tone deaf

Emotional responses to your tone and communication are heightened right now. Recessions induce fear, which means clients and customers are more likely to react very negatively to either an under appreciation of their circumstances or a perceived opportunistic approach to them. Businesses tread a thin line between needing to protect their revenues and offer empathy, whilst not appearing to be opportunistic. 

Don’t devalue 

A natural urge in a recession can be to drastically reduce pricing in order to keep clients on board and continue to attract new customers. We’ll look specifically at pricing later in the article, but brand worth is inherently linked to how much someone is willing to pay for your product or service. People will ask how sharp reductions can take place, and wonder whether they have overpaid in the past. Consider instead new packages of products or services that enable you to offer competitive value, whilst not undermining existing price points. 

Be aware that reducing marketing budget means cutting the connection with your audience, and it’s only that audience that can help you through an economic storm. A brand without a presence in the market is a company left most exposed. If you allow your brand to wither and diminish during a recession, you lose one of your most valuable assets. 

How will brands be valued during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Considering that this crisis comes off the back of significant growth in the world’s largest economies, we can consider that many people and businesses are financially liquid. Couple this with the fact that this recession is brought on by a health scare, and we may see consumers and business race to brands highlighting security, safety and reliability over simply ‘best price’. 

It’s a good time to be the United States Postal Service, for example. Not only is it the most trusted brand in the US, but delivery will be experiencing a boom. 

The psychological threat of this period means that we’re not just concerned about saving pennies, but saving the lives of ourselves and others around us. Whilst other recessions might see a race to value, now we might see a search for quality and assurance. 

Brands with a reputation for quality and security, could be more important than ever. 

And these brand-quality assurance requirements may infiltrate many of our purchase decisions. As we shift to remote work, for example, businesses might be very willing to pay for a brand known for best audio, visual and connection reliability of video conferencing. ‘Cheapest’ won’t be the most enticing proposition, because of how important it is to have the best capacity to communicate with our teams. 

However, depending on the length and depth of the recession, these priorities could change. If difficulties extend over 12-18 months, we may see a return to cost consciousness.

CHAPTER 4: How should you be communicating with your customers at this time? 

Your businesses communications during an economic downturn need to be handled with care. As your customers experience financial pressures and difficulties, they are going to be more sensitive to tone and approach. Hitting the wrong note at this time could be the literal ‘deal-breaker’ and turn business and individuals away. 

Equally, if you shy away from communicating with them at all, they are more likely to forget you, reduce their perceived value of you, and cancel any future work or purchasing from you. 

You need to keep communicating, but you need to get the communication right. 

There are two broad strategies you can take. The first is to be the empathetic listener, providing continual support and understanding. The second is to be provocative, enforcing your value and highlighting the dangers of not continuing with your services. 

Let’s take a look at each strategy in turn. 

First, the empathetic outreach: the ‘we’re in this together’ message. 

Showing empathy with your clients is undoubtedly important, but it’s not without its risks. If you don’t approach the messaging with sincerity, indeed if you sound opportunistic, it can heavily undermine your brand value. 

Consider Pepsi’s disastrous Kendall Jenner campaign, which tried to show empathy with the Black Lives Matter movement. It was remarkably tone deaf, and instead of connecting with a huge concern of people, it only worked to make them appear distant and out of touch. 

So whilst it really is important to understand your clients concerns and worries, it’s extremely important to get the positioning right. If you’re telling me you care about me just to make more money, chances are I am not going to feel very positive about it. 

The second messaging strategy you can adopt is to provoke your client to understand that you are an essential product or service, as laid out in Harvard Business Review. 

As we’ve shown above, recessionary psychology dictates that clients will prioritize what is essential and what isn’t, and only what will remain essential continues to be purchased. 

The provocation strategy laid out in the HBR is a sales technique that works in a three-stage process: 

  1. Identify a critical problem that companies will always find the money to solve.
  2. Provide your solution with a fresh perspective that frames the problem in a ‘jarring’ new light. 
  3. Target an executive with the power to approve your solution. 

Now whilst this is a sales technique that, taken to the full extent as suggested in the HBR, does require highly professional sales teams who are adept at formulating and presenting these solutions, there is a principal here that is worth exploring in everyone’s marketing efforts — both B2B and B2C. 

If your business is to survive, you need to identify a critical problem that your customers are willing to pay to solve. 

Second, you need to frame your marketing so that you provide the solution to that problem. 

Lastly, you need to be highly targeted to decision makers who can convince internally that your solution can work. 

So when it comes to ‘provoking’ your client in this context, what do we really mean? It’s not simply about shouting about how valuable you are and threatening a company’s demise if they cancel their agreement with you. 

It’s about deeply understanding customers, knowing that you provide a genuine solution, targeting your messaging and being confident (not aggressively tone deaf) in communicating it. 

Keep communication up, and argue for your value 

Companies have been falling over themselves to present an altruistic front, with free or cheaper services, upgrades or bonus features. They are enthusiastically communicating in an empathetic way. 

Tech giants with giants with billions in the bank, however, can afford to be generous. Facebook can give $100 million to ‘help rebuild media’ and not feel that much of a pinch. If anything, companies can use this as a time to effectively market themselves and their extended free trials. 

Many more businesses will need to perform a form of provocation communication. Perhaps the terminology feels loaded and confrontational, when instead it should be framed as understanding why your business should remain relevant to your clients and communicating that to them.

If you can’t convince enough customers that you’re necessary, then it’s likely any recession would be difficult to overcome. You’ll need to be in some form of fight, to keep your head above the water. 

What’s most likely is that your messaging is going to be a form of the two: empathetic messaging mixed with a supportive pricing strategy, coupled with underscoring of your USPs, and why it is best to maintain your product or services. 

The key takeaway? Always be conscious of your tone. Tread carefully, but not so carefully that you appear expendable. 

CHAPTER 5: Getting your pricing right during a recession 

Your pricing strategy during growth periods can vary depending on operational capacity targets, profitability requirements, cross-selling opportunities or value perception, amongst other factors. It’s not within the scope of this guide to delve into the full complexities of pricing strategy. 

(We’d need another 5,000 words for that!)

So what can we say?

We can say that, whatever your pricing strategy is, the recession is going to make you review it — not least because your clients might demand it. 

So let’s take a look at some pointers on what to do, and what to avoid, when it comes to your pricing during a recession.  

Pricing during a recession: What to do

Review and understand your value 

If you know how much your clients value your service, you can have more confidence in what you charge. This may be changing as our current situation develops, and so it’s important to be in regular communication with your clients to understand where that value continues to be found. 

Create new product bundles at different price points

Create ‘value-offering’ product bundles that allow for clients to make savings, but don’t erode your perceived value or existing price points. Make these ‘limited time only’ offers. 

Control costs over increasing sales

Aim to streamline your company’s costs and create as many efficiencies as possible. Simply reducing prices to generate sales will not help your business long term. 

Innovate to offer something unique

If you can, spend time and money developing something unique to the market. If you can help other businesses survive the economic downturn, this will inherently give you a valuable proposition and increase your own chances of survival. 

Pricing during a recession: What to avoid

Discounting your product or service to compete

Price wars will undermine not only your brand but your capacity to survive in the long term. Focus instead on ensuring you have a product that is valued and that people are willing to pay for. 

Reducing pricing on your high valued products

It may be the case that you have an in-demand product that buyers want a price reduction on. But don’t do it. Maintain pricing on this product, but offer ‘value’ alternatives when and where you can. 

Arguing with price driven customers

If a customer threatens to leave if you don’t cut your costs, allow them to go. Getting into arguments can be emotionally and financially draining. Save your resources for those who value you. 

How will pricing be affected during a short, deep recession? 

At the time of writing, several commentators (and indeed market activity) indicate that the ‘money’ is behind this recession being mercifully short. It will hurt, but akin to ripping off a band-aid, the pain should be sudden, sharp and quick to recover from. 

This may be one of the motivations behind several tech companies offering their services completely free for the next few months. They would rather absorb the hit and see it as a marketing initiative — anticipating a return to full revenues in the near future — as opposed to permanently shifting to a reduced price point. 

Again, if the recession evolves to become deep and lengthy, this will change. Companies will restructure overheads to be able to offer value products over a longer period of time. 

CHAPTER 6: Streamline your product offering, focus on efficiency

It follows a simple logic that a reduction in resources means you need to maximize efficiency. Businesses should concentrate on core, in-demand products with healthy margins. 

Depending on the depth or severity of a recession, companies will need to manage their product portfolio so that their business is operating as efficiently as possible. Having several products or services, with small or trivial differences, increases complexity —reducing efficiency. 

In longer, deeper recessions, such as the 2008 financial crisis, companies needed to orientate around a small core of value products, as households and businesses suffered a protracted reduction in spending power. Shorter recessions allow for companies to make less fundamental shifts in their ranges. 

As things stand, we don’t know how this recession will behave. However, companies should begin to do the following:

Reduce complexity 

If you have a company which has evolved to offer a vast range of services, now is the time to get surgical and cut whatever is not a high performer. Growth periods can allow you to be broad in scope to attract a wider range of potential buyers, but the same doesn’t apply to recessions. Efficiencies need to drive your product decisions. 

Focus on value and function

Many products or services have grown to offer customizable or personalized elements, which inherently introduce complexity and reduce margin. Value and function will increase in importance over highly tailored elements, so consider how you can prioritize that over individualization.

However, don’t sacrifice innovation

Your best chance of a profitable and successful recovery is continuing to offer a product that the market demands. Needs change, but there will always be demand for something. Continue to listen to the market, and understand how you can offer innovative solutions. You should add a product that you’re confident will have a high demand — and you should use market research to get there.

Introduce a fighter product 

Instead of indiscriminately slashing your prices, consider introducing a new ‘fighter’ brand, product or service that can compete at a value price point over the recession period. It can be used to attract or maintain customers, and be quietly dropped when the economy recovers. 

Product Launch

Focus on products with margin, whilst listening to your customers

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: no one knows exactly how COVID-19 will affect product lines. Entire product market fit assumptions could be thrown out the window. For example, who is to say whether this pandemic, coupled with closed borders and a heightened awareness of climate change, could completely kill off the low-cost airline industry? 

It could, if these businesses can’t get through to the other side (and many of them won’t). But if they do, they could see unprecedented sales as a result of sky-high demand and bargain-hungry buyers.

Low-cost air travel seemed to be an immutable fact of life, and it’s now on its knees. It may be that no amount of ‘fighter pricing’ can save it against these forces. 

Equally a fighter brand might be more suitable in the scenario of a cheaper burger that encourages people to still eat out. What happens when you can’t even go outside, let alone gather in a restaurant? 

So how companies streamline and adapt their product portfolio is yet to be known, however, the certainty is that those that manage to focus their efforts on the right product with the right margins will win. 

The only way to get there is to understand your market, and increase efficiencies both within operations and marketing. 

CHAPTER 7: Prepare yourself for recovery by acquiring and nurturing your leads 

Lastly, we need to look at how best to position your business for recovery when the good times returns. 

Past recessions have shown that many businesses that survive can become stronger and more profitable after a recession. 

The reduction in competitors, and efficiency savings made, can make them leaner, with a bigger market share. Purely surviving, however, doesn’t mean riches will always await on the other side. 

Those that truly thrive in a post-recession economy are ones that take proactive measures during the downturn to ensure they are still acquiring interest and adequately nurturing their leads. What you need is an engaged database that is ready to purchase at the earliest signs of an economic turnaround. 

Audience Research

To adequately prime your business for success after the recession, consider non-sales-focused acquisition and engagement strategies that build awareness, trust, and thought leadership such as:


Webinars provide an excellent way to share educational, valuable, and informative content without needing to be physically present. You can share your company insights, which allow you to develop a niche positioning and build your brand, whilst not applying sales focus or pressure. What’s more, webinars can be sporadic, meaning you don’t need to maintain a high production level for them to return value. 


There are currently around 1 million podcast shows, with a massive 30 million episodes created in January 2020 alone. Competition is therefore fierce, but successful podcasts are businesses in their own right. New York Times ‘The Daily’ podcast, for example, earns them about $10 million a year.  

However before considering a podcast, understand whether you have the commitment and capacity to publish episodes on a weekly basis, as success with a podcast depends on regular releases. These must be planned, scripted and edited well to ensure regular listeners. 


The simple newsletter is still a great way to maintain regular contact with your database. These campaigns can provide tips, advice, and entertainment over the weeks and months ahead. Make sure to keep them scheduled at regular intervals, with enticing and personalized subject headlines. The subject should reflect what is in the newsletter, whilst enticing interest —using stats can be a great way to do this. 

Whichever method of content creation you choose to make, ensure that you include a call to action that encourages sign-ups to your database. Then, make sure that new clients are enrolled on a nurturing campaign — building trust and thought leadership that you can convert to a sale when this is all over. 

Good luck. You got this. 

The sands of the current crisis are changing constantly. At the point of starting to write this piece, the world looked different from when I finished it. It will likely look different again by the time you’re reading it. To that extent, try to take the advice and guidance with that in mind. 

However, I believe some actions will always be the best options for survival: 

> Know your customers 

> Keep communicating with them

> Focus on efficiency

> Don’t devalue your brand 

> Fill and engage your pipeline