• Adam Whittaker

Recession, The ‘B’ Word and Marketing

Last week came the news that half of UK and US firms predict a recession in 2020.

In some quarters this was obviously welcomed as warmly as Meghan Markle at a Buckingham Palace garden party but for many it came as little surprise. Clients and companies I spoke to throughout the latter part of last year had already begun muttering of the impending doom that wasn’t necessarily Brexit inspired, indeed many thought, rightly or wrongly, that Brexit may actually give the UK economy a kick up the backside. For a few months at least.

As this particular report points out, our economy stagnated at the end of 2019. The big bad ‘B’ word cannot be held wholly responsible. Actions across The Pond, unrest in China and the Middle East, a proliferated country at home and a general sense of unease have lead to expectations diminishing on numerous fronts.

Many existing and potential customers did include Brexit in their forward thinking and many gave the stock response of ‘Let’s see what happens after we leave the EU’.

Unfortunately for them and for many marketers this is something of a flawed argument. Brexit will take years to become the fully fledged monster we are expecting. But more importantly, as with any difficult economical and social period such as this, the first thing to be condemned to the scrap heap of unimplementable plans is marketing. Sit and wait is too often the preferred stance of choice when the opposite should in fact be happening.

Of course, many UK businesses trade abroad and a great deal of that trade is with the EU. However, there still remains a huge amount of business carried out with other nations but, more importantly, here at home. Many smaller businesses have been swept away by the Brexit hysteria and have succumbed to the gloom that has ensued. ‘I’ll pick up the marketing when things have settled down a little’, ‘I’ll sort my marketing plan when we know what is happening’.

Obviously I have a fundamental interest in this as I am, after all, a marketing consultant, so this may sound like a plea to continue to employ me. In some ways of course it is, we all have a mortgage to pay, however I do and have always maintained the belief that marketing budget should never be the first victim in times of crisis. Such actions are not confined to the Private Sector. Holding back on any form of promotion was the default position of the Public Sector when things got a little hot under the collar on several occasions throughout my NHS career. Some forward thinking budget holders appreciated the need to continue speaking to our audience whether that be in the form of leaflets, via the Press or whatever suited our demographic.

In the modern world of social media, marketing may not have as much of a financial implication, inflicting more of a time resource burden, for all businesses and organisations. Utilising this medium is key to maintaining a brand presence. Consumers still need to buy and if anything, their decision making will be heightened at times like these. Those on top of their promotional game and who remain firmly front and centre will be the ones that will continue to trade as people’s purse strings tighten. Brand loyalty, trust and exceeding expectations come to the fore more than ever and who will know about how excellent your product or service is if you don’t tell them.

Now is the time to take your marketing to the next level, push on with your promotional plans and not make short term shortcuts.

Need any help with your marketing or social media strategy, contact me