Marketing in a recession

For Marketers, recession is when the wheat gets separated from the chaff.  CMOs and Marketing directors with the strategic depth and executional flexibility to change track while staying on course, will flourish. Below are some links and thoughts on marketing in a recession. Timely reminders.

Overall, this is a great opportunity to grow share. It is not the time to cut marketing spend. Instead maximise your ROI by maintaining investment, while competitors reduce.

1. No compromise on product quality, but take a very close look at non-value added cost espl secondary and tertiary packaging.

2.  Maintain absolute media spend, but re-allocate. Explore pruning TV spend and boosting In-store and outdoor. Will increase SOV and also create big brand feel.

– How about some free media ie the packaging of your biggest/ highest reach) brand/variant to build awareness and trial of other smaller brands/extensions.

3. Sharpen the creative edge in messaging with a special focus on re-framing /emphasizing the value proposition of the brand.

4. Enhance talent quality (as some top agency as well as client side talent might just have been laid off)

5. Build/Boost analytics capability. You might discover unrealized pricing power. Reminder of a classic example here.

6. Explore strategic tie-ups with non-competing companies which can drive distribution and trial for your products efficiently, while either lowering their costs or generating some revenue for them (eg product placement in Hotels).

7. Explore super size packs (appealing to high income value seekers) as well as low outlay mini packs (for low income quality seekers).

8. Some interesting articles on the topic.

Interesting to see that three of these articles were penned in Q1’2008, when most companies were still basking in the afterglow of 5-6 straight years of consumer spending growth , up-trading and pricing power.

Happy share growth !


4 responses to “Marketing in a recession

  1. Happy Share Growth! Sounds like we’re celebrating the recession…Haha…

    Just some thoughts on point 7 — why changes on pack sizes during recession? Will there be changes on purchasing behaviour during recession?

  2. Yes, I do believe there WILL DEFINITELY be changes in consumer behaviors during recession! What’s interesting is no matter we are targeting high income value seekers or low income quality seekers, brands that offer a lower quality at a lower price during recession will eventually get stuck in the middle, e.g., high income value seekers would rather reduce the consumption of high quality expensive goods hence they won’t come down, and low income value seeker wouldn’t even considered these discounted quality (and price) goods as they would rather go for smaller quantity of high quality goods, so they won’t go up either….

  3. A friend of mine who owns an independent consultancy firm told me that since the financial tsunami, there is an increasing number of clients from Financial Institutions who seek help from him on corporate brand building! Guess the “investment boys” do know how to look at Recession from another side!!!

  4. Agree with you, ‘in sailing, races are won in light winds’.

    Chloele, during recession, rate of down trading is more likely to increase. Tactical pack size can help slow down own franchise down trading, as well as attract source of business (from competitor).

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