Warnings of a technology industry recession are impossible to ignore. But before you slash marketing budgets and purge staff, keep in mind that recessions last an average of 10 months. Unfortunately, companies that reduce their marketing budget during a recession face an erosion of brand equity that takes three to five years to recover. Here are three reasons for B2B technology companies to maintain marketing momentum during a sales slump.
#1 Seed future B2B sales
Marketing dollars invested in the past deliver a return on investment in the future. Sales teams need leads, but marketing teams exist for a reason—sales can’t do it alone. Without the brand awareness, messaging, nurturing, and one-to-many touchpoints that marketing provides, the sales team may have leads but not be able to set up meetings. Building a lead-generation marketing engine does not happen overnight—it requires continuous work to fuel forward motion. If you turn off your marketing engine, you lose momentum and thwart post-recession sales.
Instead, we recommend tech clients adjust marketing tactics to meet the changing behavior of buyers in a recession and to remain top of mind—through good times and bad. It is human nature to base decisions on the assumption that the status quo will continue, but that is just cognitive bias. With attention stretched in countless directions, it is shockingly easy for buyers to forget marketing messages. Today’s news cycle is 24 hours, ads blare, and our memory succumbs to the Google effect, the tendency to forget information that can be found readily online. During a recession, it is best for B2B tech companies to stay visible, nimble, and take advantage of competitive opportunities to surge forward, capture, and expand market share.
#2 Preserve and gain market share
It costs more to be absent from a B2B tech market than to stay when sales are down. Downturns create vacuums that scrappy brands rush to fill. Ad costs decrease. If you leave, your market share goes up for grabs. Buyers don’t stop purchasing products and services during a recession, even when their budgets are thin—instead, their buying habits change. Purchasers are more cautious and motivated to seek excellent value and quality.
Smart tech companies dial into these customers’ needs and reimagine technology products and services to meet the demands of the market. The COVID-19 pandemic forced B2B tech marketers to respond to completely new market conditions. These real-world tests reshuffle brand hierarchies within a market and establish a new competitive landscape. Forward-thinking companies never cede market share without a fight.
“In tough times, build. Build your brand so when customers start buying, you will have beaten all those who stood by and waited.” – John Carbone, a long-time HCI client
#3 Partner to lift brand awareness and sales
Rather than accepting the sluggish status quo, a recession is a good time to find new partners that bring new perspective and expertise to your B2B tech marketing effort. HCI has sailed the choppy economic seas through 2001, 2008-09, and the COVID years—and we experienced how the economy inevitably swings back. Clients cancelled accounts in the early days of COVID-19—and then returned a few months later. Again, with the worldwide unrest, we again see market hesitancy. During periods of uncertainty, our team members come alongside you, help you take a breath, and delve deep into your needs and objectives through our agency’s strengths and core values of strategic thinking, (com)passion, and persistence.
It is a wise move to invest in your business continuously. Against the backdrop of 9/11, the dot.com bust, and the Great Recession, tech companies like Apple continued to invest in marketing and parlayed an early lead into decades of success while competitors fell by the wayside. As John Carbone, a long-time HCI client, says, “In tough times, build. Build your brand so when customers start buying, you will have beaten all those who stood by and waited.”
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