Navigating Tough Times: 12 Essential Marketing Strategies for Thriving in a Recession

In challenging economic times, it’s crucial for business owners to adapt their marketing strategies to not only survive but thrive. Drawing from my experiences during the Global Financial Crisis, earthquakes, and COVID-19, I’ve compiled 12 essential rules for marketing your business in a recession. These insights are designed to guide you through these uncertain times with actionable strategies.

1. The Warren Buffet Mindset: Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful

Do not halt your marketing efforts during a recession. When competitors scale back, it’s your cue to push forward. By maintaining or increasing your advertising, you create an opportunity to capture greater market share. Remember, consistency and frequency of your message enhance relevancy and drive sales.

2. Visibility: Be Seen to Become Known

Visibility is key to overcoming obscurity. A well-crafted strategy that highlights your unique value propositions and addresses your target audience’s needs can turn the tables, even against competitors with inferior offerings. Remember, being known is half the battle won.

3. Customer-Focused Audit: Make Buying Easy

Audit your sales and marketing channels to ensure they are customer-friendly. In a recession, every customer’s experience matters more than ever. Address all touchpoints, from your website’s usability to your social media presence, ensuring they facilitate rather than hinder the buying process.

4. Market Message Awareness: Speak to the Moment

Tailor your marketing messages to address the current economic climate and your customers’ concerns. This empathetic approach can help maintain customer trust and loyalty, as it shows you understand their challenges and are adapting your offerings accordingly.

5. Value and Incentives: More Than Just Discounts

Rather than resorting to discounts, focus on creating value through compelling offers and incentives that resonate with your audience’s current needs. Know your numbers and ensure these offers are sustainable for your business while attractive to your customers.

6. Video Marketing: The Must-Use Medium

Video is an unmatched tool in your marketing toolkit. It’s not about being perfect on camera but about connecting and building trust with your audience. Utilise video to answer frequently asked questions, showcase testimonials, or explain your services and products. Remember, authenticity wins.

7. Mobile First: Optimise for On-the-Go Consumers

With most people glued to their mobile devices, ensure your marketing efforts are optimised for mobile. This means having a responsive website, utilising location-based marketing, and ensuring your content is mobile-friendly and shareable on social media.

8. Reason Why Advertising: Communicate Your Value

Explain clearly why customers should choose you over competitors, especially during tough economic times. Highlight the benefits and unique aspects of your offerings. This approach not only attracts new customers but also reinforces the loyalty of existing ones.

9. Joint Ventures and Collaborations: Expand Your Reach

Form strategic partnerships to extend your market reach. Look for complementary businesses and explore ways to collaborate on marketing efforts or bundle offerings. This can lead to new customer bases and shared resources, maximising impact while minimising costs.

10. Prioritise Existing Customers: Your Most Valuable Asset

Your current customers are your business’s backbone, especially during economic downturns. Find ways to add value, whether through loyalty programs, personalised services, or simply by enhancing your customer service. Retaining a customer is often more cost-effective than acquiring a new one.

11. Leverage Technology: Work Smarter

Technology can be a lifesaver, offering tools to automate tasks, streamline operations, and enhance customer engagement. From CRM systems to social media management tools, the right technology can provide a competitive edge without breaking the bank.

12. Know Your Numbers: The Foundation of Any Strategy

Understanding your financial metrics is crucial. Keep a close eye on your sales revenue, marketing spend, customer acquisition cost, and other key performance indicators. This will inform your decisions and help tailor your strategies to be both effective and efficient.


In conclusion, navigating through economic downturns requires more than resilience; it demands strategic action and forward-thinking. The outlined 12 rules serve as a comprehensive guide for not only surviving but thriving during challenging times. However, understanding and implementing these strategies effectively can be overwhelming.

This is where our expertise comes into play. We offer tailored assistance to apply these strategies effectively, ensuring your business not only endures but also excels. Book a ‘Where You Can Win Strategy Chat‘ and let’s discuss how we can help your business leverage these strategies for sustained success.

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