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Maximizing your marketing budget during a recession

Wojtek Jeżowski

September 25, 2022

You’re probably living in the first part of a Charles Dickens novel right about now. It was the worst of times and the best of times…  So here we are. Two years after the global shock of pandemics and lockdowns, it’s recession time. And as we all know, marketing is the first to go to the chopping block. Uncertainty breeds fear, and fear breeds the tightening of belts. 

Steady as she goes…

The last thing anyone wants is to cut their budgets. I know… You’re reading an article written by a creative ad agency.  What else could we say as we type this sitting over our almond lattes and gluten-free zero-sugar scones, but the data is there to prove it!

Brands that have cut spending on marketing experience a 16% loss in sales during the first year and a whopping 25% in the second year post cuts.

Yet here we are. Every marketing pro, ad agency, and production house are trying to weather the storm of uncertainty.  So, strap in because here are a few tips and tricks to keep on producing engaging content when things get tight. To quote Epictetus,

“It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

DO invest in creativity 

Creative solutions make your videos stand out and keep your audience in the loop. You won’t be boring your B2B clients who wade through hundreds of bland meat-and-potatoes regular ol’ content during their research.  Investing in creatives gives you the chance to stand out.

Good creative work is also evergreen. It last longer, you can reuse it, modify it which is more cost-effective than creating a new one.

DO use emotions

Connect with your audience on a human emotional level instead of hitting them over the head with a bunch of fast cuts and lens flares. Give your clients more credit than being suckers for the ol’ “razzle-dazzle.” They also love that feeling of connection that most humans have, even if they work behind a desk. Don’t waste your budget on content that won’t engage your audience.  Great ideas that aim for the heart are always appreciated. After all, we’re all human. 

(At least until we all get replaced by AI, but that’s another article coming shortly. Probably an AI will write it :P)

DO treat your client like human beings

Customers often feel like an ATM. So, grab them by the hand and connect with them as the business partner you truly are.  All successful endeavors are built on a solid foundation of trust. And having trusted business partners around in times of turmoil is usually a good investment.

DO provide your budget

I know, I know…. some of you don’t know how much a production will cost. You send out inquiries, you get asked to fill out briefs, then you get a couple of proposals, then it turns out the one everyone likes is too expensive, and now you have to jump hoops to re-allocate the budget… or start over again.

But when you provide how much you want to spend in your RFO you’ll get creative ideas that are optimized for your budget. Trust me, that’s the way to get the best quality for less.

DO make it simple

You don’t need lavish animations and a thumping soundtrack that impresses everyone in the boardroom. Consider minimalist visuals and live shots that get to the matter of things. Instead of a big, long, boring and complex video try making a couple of short and simple ones with a straightforward message.

In a recession, simple is better. It’s also easier and cost-effective. Sometimes doing that one thing right beats a slew of doing a bunch of flashy things wrong.

DO storytelling

Your audience is experiencing hard times, too. They are bombarded with hundreds of ads, explainer videos, podcasts, and blogs (like this one). Make your content engaging, fun, easy to understand, and remember. Make them feel something when they engage with your content. They, your bottom line, and their customers will thank you for it.

That’s all good when said, but can it be done? Actually, yes. Here are some examples of great B2B storytelling.

Yeah, that was a bit elaborate. So check out this one, below. Simple studio set up, a handfull of props and actors.

And last but not least, this… it isn’t B2B; it’s just amazing  storytelling.

DO consider outsourcing

Apple does it. Nike does it. Hollywood does it. Everyone does it. Outsourcing to a company abroad not only makes you new friends but strengthens your bottom line with partners you will likely be coming back to time and time again.

You’re only as good as your network, and a foreign network opens you up to a whole world of amazing professionals and talent that you would normally not have access to (thank you, internet).  These companies often are competitive in pricing, allowing you to stretch your already thin budget much farther than you could at home.

If you don’t know where to start finding your new foreign BFF, check out global review sites like clutch.co  or agencyspotter.com.

We’re in the same boat

It doesn’t feel that way. We're still coming out of a long period of isolation, yet still, we’ve managed to make the world smaller through technology. This is why we wrote this blog. To reach out to you from our offices in Europe to your office, living room, or home workstation, to let you know that there are people on the other side; dealing with the same problems and worries you are - tightening our belts, finding solutions and sharing them, and doing it all before dropping the kids off at soccer practice. 

Let’s not forget that no matter how far apart we are, we are still in this together.

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