What B2B Tech Marketers Should Do During a Recession

If you work in tech, we don’t need to tell you that the current economic climate is disrupting business as usual. Since 2022, roughly 240,000 tech employees have been laid off. This goes hand in hand with budget cuts, business closures, and a general sense of panic and uncertainty.

The marketing budget is often one of the first things to go when money is tight, so B2B marketers are particularly feeling the economic pain. 21% of b2b marketers plan to cut marketing budgets in 2023, and 74% say the economic downturn is influencing budget decisions.

The good news and bad news are one and the same: recessions are cyclical. There have been 11 recessions since 1948, lasting six years on average. That’s why recession planning strategies should be part of your B2B marketing playbook, regardless of what’s happening with the economy. 

If you’re feeling the crunch now, these five strategies can help you attract and retain customers, get creative with your marketing strategy, and work within budget constraints.

1. Retain existing customers

Economic downturns create a challenging environment to acquire new clients. Your first line of defense during a recession should be nurturing your existing customer relationships. Not only is it more cost-effective, but your customers will remember that you made them feel supported during a difficult time. 

You can nurture your customers during a recession in several ways, but the key is to be flexible and accommodating to their shifting needs. 

  • Start a conversation. Talking to your customers is always important, especially during tough economic times. Pick 5-10 of your healthiest customers and conduct a survey or simply talk with them. Ask how they found you, why they chose you over your competitors, and how the recession impacts their goals and budget. 
  • Be their champion. If your customers are hurting, supporting their business can go a long way in strengthening your partnership. Engage with their social media channels, share their successes in a case study, or ask how you can elevate their online presence. 
  • Offer flexible upsell opportunities. It may seem counterintuitive to push an upsell on customers during a recession. But customers experiencing internal layoffs or budget cuts may actually need more outside help during this time.
    Offer flexible options that meet their needs. For example, at Megawatt, we created new, agile services to help our customers weather the recession with tighter budgets or limited resources. 

2. Align marketing and sales

When money is tight, marketing budgets are often among the first things on the chopping block. Rather than cutting marketing spend altogether, focus on doing more with the budget you have. Aligning marketing and sales can help you build a lean marketing strategy that maximizes your team’s ROI. 

Sit in on customer service or sales calls, listen to recordings of customer conversations, or talk directly with customers. These conversations can help you review your positioning, messaging, and buyer personas.

Additionally, speak with sales team leaders to understand how marketing can best support revenue-building efforts.

Here are a few questions you can ask your sales team to better align with your marketing strategy:

  • What are the biggest challenges customers share with you that we solve?
  • What questions do prospects have during sales calls?
  • What information do you wish prospects had before talking to you?
  • Are there any sales enablement materials that would help you throughout the sales cycle?

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3. Prove your ROI

Recessions have a way of tightening purse strings and elevating anxiety around finances. For marketing teams, this is particularly true because they are often one of the first cuts when money is tight. 

For B2B marketers, it’s crucial to prove ROI in two essential ways:

  • Make the business case for marketing to your internal stakeholders. Marketing is often the first casualty of budget cuts, which can impact marketing spend and personnel. It’s important to illustrate the value of marketing to your leadership team through campaign metrics and qualitative data. 
  • Prove the ROI of your product or service to your customers. During uncertain economic times, your customers are hyper-focused on cutting costs. Shift your messaging to illustrate how your product or service helps customers reduce expenses, increase efficiency, or improve profitability. 

4. Get scrappy with your marketing strategy

If your marketing budget is tighter during a recession, there are plenty of ways to do more with little or no budget. First, pause unnecessary or low-impact campaigns. For example, if you aren’t hiring during a recession, it’s a good time to pause campaigns around talent acquisition or company culture. You can easily pick these back up when they align more with your business goals. 

Next, conduct an audit of your existing content and see how you can repurpose it. This is a lighter lift than creating brand-new marketing content. 

  • Update outdated content that has performed well in the past.
  • Repurpose long-form content into bite-sized social posts, videos, graphics, or email campaigns. 
  • Experiment with content formats, like video, that have higher engagement. Remember that you don’t necessarily need a high production value to engage your target audience.
  • Compile several shorter content pieces, like blogs, into a high-value report.

5. Prepare for the market to recover

Uncertain economic times are stressful at every level of the company. Budget cuts, layoffs, and pressure to bring in leads can create a draining work environment for marketers. The good news is that recessions always end. In fact, recessions create 47% more rising stars than stable times, which indicates an opportunity for new market leaders to emerge. 

Maintaining a strong marketing program can help you increase mindshare during a recession. Pivoting your messaging to meet the shifting needs of your target audience can set you apart from your competitors when the economy starts to turn around ineveitably. 

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail

Recession planning is a reality of modern work. This is particularly true for marketers because budget cuts often impact marketing teams. Remember to focus on nurturing existing customers, shift your strategy to meet your customer’s emerging needs, don’t be afraid to get scrappy, and prepare for the market to recover (it always does!).

Did the tech layoffs impact your marketing team? We can help you keep your content marketing engine running. Contact us today to learn more about our content services.  Contact us today.

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