Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the holiday season and new year have stirred feelings of fear and excitement. Our economy is still recovering from the pandemic even in 2022, and it’s likely that we will be recovering for a few years to come. It’s not the holiday news that we might have wanted for the end of 2022, but it’s the truth: we are in an economic recession. A downturn in economic activity for two consecutive quarters, resulting in negative GDP (Gross Domestic Product), is typically referred to as an economic recession.
Whether you believe the recession will worsen or improve over the next few years may simply be a matter of seeing the glass as half-full or half-empty. When it comes to business and marketing, we are only able to work with the economy in its current state. In times of economic distress and economic downturn, companies might be tempted to sacrifice their marketing campaigns and departments. They assume that marketing is not as important when resources are scarce.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marketing is one of the most important outward-facing areas in business. It introduces your clients to your product or service while also engaging them with innovative storytelling. In a time of economic downturn when your target audience may be more frugal with their spending, storytelling is absolutely key. Relating to your audience with trending topics or relevant slang depending on their age range can be a great way to get their attention. Your target audience should always be the focus of any campaign. A people-first approach is preferred by many companies post-pandemic. People generate attention, engagement, and revenue and they crave relatability and connection.
Inexpensive Marketing Strategies
While every company wants to connect with its clients on a personal basis, it’s easy for ads and social media posts to get lost in a sea of marketing. Fortunately, there are a few unique marketing mediums and strategies that will stand out even in an economic downturn. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Gas Station Advertising
Gas station advertising is unique because it caters to a specific audience. You have a number of locations to choose from depending on your target audience, including ads located above gas pumps and those printed directly on gas pump nozzles. If the gas station has a convenience store attached to it, you might also be able to advertise on signs on or near the store. You can place ads on gas pump nozzles for anywhere from $75 to $100 a week. That’s quite the bargain compared to the average of $800 per week for a large billboard.
When choosing which ads to place on top of gas pumps or nozzles, it’s important to consider the average age and interests of your potential viewers. The location of the gas station matters, too. If you choose a gas station in a more remote location, your ad will likely be seen by families and groups of friends on road trips as well as truck drivers and other people on the go. A gas station in a more urban location is likely the go-to spot for gas refills before and after work, and an attached convenience store could be visited by everyone from teenagers to mid-level employees on their lunch break.
2. Unique Merchandise
Instead of opting for business cards, brochures, or pens, think about creating affordable merchandise for your brand that people will actually use. Mugs, water bottles, hats, tote bags, and stickers are just a few good ideas.
3. Use Social Media
Social media is another inexpensive way to advertise your brand—and it can even be completely free. Organic social media posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok can be a great way to reach your target audience, especially for younger generations. Some social media apps also allow you to further your social media campaign by investing in paid media. Facebook and Instagram both offer paid advertising that is tailored to your client’s interests and engagement.
If you’re looking to create social media posts that cut through the clutter of other social media advertising without costing your company a fortune, you should know that video-based media is getting the most attention. Other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook are following in TikTok’s footsteps by creating tools for video-specific media. If you’re able to capitalize on music and video-based trends while also creating relatable content, you will be even closer to reaching your audience.
4. Personalized Marketing
In a flood of social media posts and billboards, it can be difficult to reach potential clients beyond the umbrella of your target audience. When you refer to each of your clients by name, they are more likely to feel personally connected to you and your company’s message. It may be worthwhile to invest in a tool that tracks this information when you add new clients to your mailing list. Something as simple as a first name included in an email or a handwritten note shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your clients.