Marketing during a downturn


“Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”

In this Harvard Business review article from 2009, the writer explains that during a downturn, it is important for marketers to understand the evolving consumption patterns and adjust their strategies accordingly. Consumers can be segmented based on their emotional responses to the recession, such as slam-on-the-brakes, pained-but-patient, comfortably well-offs, and live-for-today. Additionally, purchases can be categorized into essentials, treats, postponables, and expendables. Marketers should tailor their marketing strategies based on these segments and categories. For example, for slam-on-the-brakes consumers buying treats, marketers can shrink packaging sizes, hold prices down, and advertise products as small indulgences. It is also important to manage marketing investments, plan for the long term, and balance the communications budget. Fine-tuning product portfolios, improving affordability, bolstering trust in the brand, and positioning for the recovery are additional strategies to consider. 

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