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Staying ahead in a down market with winning B2B marketing tactics.

Published on 19 April, 2023 | Author: Digitalzone

An economic downturn will have an impact on your marketing and how you respond will determine the survival of your business.

Economic downturns, or even the mere hint of one, can significantly impact your marketing efforts. B2B marketers often face difficulties in identifying an impending slowdown due to their typically longer sales cycles. Conversely, B2C marketers may be more attuned to industry-wide downturns.

Despite the pandemic not necessarily exacerbating anxiety, the current economic turmoil is disrupting many marketing plans. Business-to-business buyers are scrutinizing their B2B purchases closely in light of the uncertain times. It might seem logical to scale back marketing activities and goals in this context, but that would be counterproductive. Instead, the focus should be on refining marketing strategies, rather than marketing less.

As we navigate the turbulent waters of 2023, is it possible to achieve recession-proof marketing? If not, what can B2B marketers do to better withstand these challenges? While the idea of recession-proof B2B marketing might appear reassuring, blindly implementing it could lead to unforeseen complications at the very least.

Economic downturns- the resistance test for any marketing plan

There is a good chance that the potential recession will not be like anything we have seen in the past century. It has come at a time when companies are still attempting to manage the long-lasting repercussions of a worldwide pandemic. With challenges like inflation, a historic labor shortage, supply-chain limitations, and geopolitical instability in important markets, businesses must navigate these issues during economic slowdowns. In such a situation, it is understandable that corporate decision-makers might perceive marketing initiatives as non-essential expenditures and prioritize more crucial operations.

But it is clear from previous recessions that indiscriminately cutting marketing budgets is ineffective. Businesses become much more exposed during economic downturns because of such unplanned strategies. The C-suite should plan to thoroughly assess marketing initiatives and concentrate spending on vital investment areas that supply outcomes. It takes strong willpower to stay in business and continue to thrive when everyone else is struggling to stay afloat. With an innovative plan, B2B marketing teams may help successfully sail their brand through the storm.

Lessons from the past recession

No two recessions are the same. Since the Great Recession of 2007–2009, the world has undergone a significant transformation. Companies often suffer more severe losses and gains during downturns than they do during more stable times. Recessions do increase the likelihood of making mistakes, but they also offer many new opportunities.

Research shows that not everyone fares the same in times of crisis and economic slowdowns.  Predicting a recession with complete certainty is impossible, but the likelihood of one occurring remains significant. The prospect is daunting, especially considering the millions who lost their jobs and homes during the previous major recession. The next recession, whenever it occurs, can be simpler to handle if we learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid impulsive decisions driven by financial hardship, which are often not in anyone’s interest for long-term sustainability.

Building on this idea, when McKinsey followed the progress path of thousands of publicly traded companies, it discovered that 10% of them performed better than the others during the earlier recession. Businesses known as “resilients” adopted a distinctive approach to weather economic storms. Was it their unique strategies that set them apart, or was it merely a stroke of luck? These companies managed to stay ahead, experienced fewer setbacks, and emerged with innovative and adaptable tactics. The environment in which your organization operates can be volatile; however, by acting quickly, you can successfully navigate these waves of uncertainty instead of being engulfed by them.

Redefining the B2B Marketing Strategy

Boost your marketing budget

With the potential of a recession looming, some businesses promptly reduce their marketing budgets. This might, however, be a mistake. While it’s right that overall spending typically suffers in a recession, companies that keep or even boost their marketing budgets can experience tremendous growth.

During a recession, customers tend to be more price-conscious and seek exclusive offers. To capitalize on this, you may want to employ targeted marketing to connect with new markets that could be interested in your products or services. It’s important to keep in mind that your competitors are likely to decrease their marketing budgets during this period. However, by recognizing this, you have the chance to increase your market share and strengthen your position in the industry.

Focus on data-driven insights

To aid your company in surviving and prospering during the upcoming recession, it’s essential to re-evaluate your business plan and make data-driven decisions. Utilizing solid insights can offer a competitive edge. Make it a priority to incorporate data-driven decision-making throughout your team, before, during, and after the recession. Achieve this by integrating data-driven insights across all facets of your business operations. Data-driven insights serve as invaluable assets for detecting customer trends and patterns, subsequently informing the formulation of growth strategies.

Expand your products and services range

For any company, we all know investing in an array of products and services is essential. You can defend yourself against future downturns in any one specific area by distributing your risk across several different areas. Moreover, diversification can aid in expanding your consumer base and opening new markets. You may appeal to a wider audience, improve your likelihood of succeeding, and boost sales during a recession by supplying a variety of goods and services. It can also include discontinuing some of your less successful goods and services to concentrate on the ones that are performing better. Businesses often find it difficult during recessions, but broadening your product line can improve your chances of surviving the crisis.

It is crucial to execute marketing effectively during a recession. Your efforts will not just be essential for keeping things afloat; they will also help you mount a powerful recovery once the recession is over. People will recall what you did during this period. Hence, if you believe you might need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s going to be a wise investment, particularly if you select the right experts and partners. Even with a brilliant marketing team, they may still need support in challenging economic times. Consider providing additional resources or assistance to help them navigate through these periods and continue to drive results.

Dos and Don’ts During a Recession


  • Allocate your existing marketing budget towards tailored and personalized advertising strategies.
  • Enhance the effectiveness of data collection, processing, analysis, and insights generation through optimized marketing automation tools.
  • Streamline your marketing tech stack by discarding any software, hardware, or programs that don’t contribute to overall marketing performance.
  • Remain vigilant during economic downturns by closely monitoring the business environment and the actions of industry peers to adapt your marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Embrace an agile, test-and-learn methodology as you implement marketing tactics, while anticipating and adapting to varying levels of success.


  • Avoid adhering rigidly to a marketing plan that doesn’t account for the evolving landscape.
  • Refrain from investing in new marketing tools without understanding their potential impact on outcomes.
  • Resist the urge to increase advertising spending without data-driven justification to support the decision.
  • Never underestimate the importance of your website in supporting other marketing initiatives; invest in custom landing pages for a seamless brand experience.
  • Steer clear of hastily changing marketing tactics without giving the existing ones enough time to generate data and offer performance insights.
  • Be cautious about relying exclusively on social media marketing, especially LinkedIn; diversify your marketing approach.
  • If your marketing results are unsatisfactory, don’t be discouraged; instead, use the data you have obtained to improve and tailor your future initiatives.

The Goal Isn’t Just Survival but Thriving Through It

Recessions affect different industries in different ways. Marketers must be diligent in maximizing their strengths, mitigating weaknesses, and capitalizing on opportunities during challenging times. Your recession marketing performance hinges on a dynamic SWOT analysis that evolves with the changing landscape.

We are all aware that recessions are temporary. While staying afloat during a downturn is difficult, those who weather the storm emerge with even brighter prospects. The months following a recession often spark creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm.  Customers reject their earlier mindsets and embrace new products, the latest brands, and innovative ideas. This is why getting organized during a recession can prove so valuable. If you invest your time wisely, you will be in the best position possible to benefit from post-recession goodwill and opportunity.

Whatever success means to you, whether you’re well-established, just starting out, or anywhere in between, we can assist you in achieving your goals. Let’s chat about how we can best support you in this evolving digital landscape. Reach out to us today!