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Cooler Heads Prevail: Marketing During a Crisis

From national leaders to heads of industry to medical officials to the savvier portion of the general population, the message is simple: “Don’t panic.” That’s the prevailing mantra and it’s really a nicer way of saying “calm down.”

In times of crisis — provincial, national, global — economies almost always take a hit, but how hard depends on the severity of said crisis. The ‘R’ word (recession) gets thrown around a lot as we see stock markets dip, the price of gas plummet, and businesses temporarily close to protect workers.

In these times, you may be compelled to immediately cut back on your HR and/or marketing spend in an attempt to reign in what you deem as “unnecessary expenses,” but take pause and don’t react so suddenly.

You have strategies at your disposal that will not only see you through the crisis and ensuing recession; they may bring you out on top when all is said and done.


Slashing your marketing budget isn’t the answer

When markets start to wane, your gut reaction might be to cut your marketing budget in an effort to fortify and survive until things swing back the other way.

This may conserve funds in the short term, but you’ll likely see a dip in new and existing revenues coming out of the crisis/recession due to a weakened brand.

What’s the answer? Don’t let immediate worry damage the longevity of your brand. While competitors are rolling back their marketing efforts, lean into yours. Focus on your key audiences and be mindful of their needs and behaviours. You’ll not only have a larger market share; you’ll better position your brand as one of strength that people can count on in trying times.

For example, during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, soap companies had an opportunity to emerge from relative obscurity and put their brands in front of the world. Ford created a specific payment plan during the COVID pandemic, helping to boost declining sales while exhibiting goodwill to consumers.

Once things re-stabilize, you’ll have a better chance of being top of mind for customers in your sector, which offers an even better prognosis for the long term.


Goodwill in tough times

In any economic crisis, especially one in which people are being laid off, many of your customers will probably cut spending. Anything deemed non-essential will be reconsidered in their budgets, but trying to appear essential when your services may not be will just create animosity (see GameStop’s response to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis).

Instead, market your goodwill by offering struggling clients various incentives that may ease their financial burdens, suspend payments where you can, and show the public that your business is human.

That doesn’t mean you should dip into the red out of the kindness of your own heart. Just show your customers that you’re there for them during an economic downturn, and they’ll return the favour in the long term.


Be open to new possibilities

Unprecedented times call for unorthodox thinking. If you find your business is struggling during an economic crisis, then consider casting a wider net.

That may mean being open to new markets, reevaluating your pricing, switching up your business model, or any other myriad options to remain as profitable as possible during a crisis and the subsequent recession.

A business that’s able to roll with the punches is better positioned to come out the other side relatively unscathed or, at the very least, with a bright future.

Written by Paul Provost, President, 6P Marketing

Contact us with any questions

If you’re uncertain about how you should be marketing your business during a tough economic period, call us at 6P Marketing today (204) 474-1654. Our strategy team is well-equipped to help you map out a plan for your business, while our online team can work wonders to make sure your 24/7 sales staff (your website) is optimized and working as effectively as it can for you.