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Marketing Through Economic Angst: Uncertainty Is Business as Usual

Anna-Marie Montague

The headlines swing like a pendulum of doomsaying, driving businesses to the brink of a pit of despair.  

  • Stocks are DOWN, stocks are up, stocks are DOWN!!! 
  • The dollar is strong, unemployment is down but LAYOFFS ARE COMING! 
  • The economy is stronger than we think; we’re already in recession; we’re kicking off a GLOBAL RECESSION. 
  • Soft landing, HARD LANDING!! 
  • We can expect a recovery to take 12 months, 17 months, a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME! 

  Pick your poison—uh—prognosticator: Ouija board, economist, Magic 8 Ball, or market expert, nobody really knows. The suspense is killing us. 

  But before you slash your marketing budget (or subject it to death by a thousand cuts), consider this: challenging times are when your brand and business need effective marketing most. Every good reason to market during good times still exists, with the added urgency of presumptive fiscal peril. 

For the unwary, tightening purse strings can slowly strangle a brand. If your brand goes silent, clients may surmise your demise, triggering premature decline. And it can be treacherously difficult to accelerate a pipeline from a dead stop. 

Instead, hone your marketing to make the most of your budget:  

  • Focus on what your customers need to escape or survive economic turbulence, whether a new product or service, a high-value deal, or far-sighted perspective.  
  • Assuage torturous uncertainty with audience understanding and data-informed campaigns. With modest investment you can achieve bullseye targeting and transform dizzying fluctuations into continuous monitoring and improvement.   
  • If you’re hemorrhaging marketing talent, staunch the flow and ease anxiety by outsourcing key research, strategic, execution, or creative functions—helping your team focus on what they do best. 
  • Bring a measure of empathy for your customers and your team. When people are on edge, human kindness trumps killer instinct as a marketing fulcrum. 

Beyond the headlines and hype, business, like life, is always uncertain. Boom times, like busts, are full of change and challenge, as well as opportunity. One more thing that’s as certain as death and taxes: if you don’t play, you can’t win. 

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

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Anna-Marie Montague
Anna-Marie Montague
Senior Writer/Strategist