Marketing in a Recession: How to Adjust Your Positioning

4 minutes read
Sarah - 29.11.2022
Marketing in a Recession: How to Adjust Your Positioning

Recently, the chatter about a potential recession has been growing louder. In the UK, we saw the pound crash. In Canada, housing markets cooled sharply. And in the United States and across the globe, inflation rates are rising exponentially.

There's no doubt that the economy is affecting every business right now. With such uncertainty, it's sink or swim. Your customer goals will likely shift in a recession, so, you must be able to change your messaging quickly to stay afloat.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to adjust your marketing for a recession.


Understanding how a downturn can impact marketing

In times of a downturn, companies must be even more strategic with their marketing plans and executions. For marketers, it can be a period of uncertainty - fears of budget cuts, reduced prices and layoffs can arise. But, these indiscriminate changes can be a mistake.

During up-markets, companies often forget that your brand messaging and the economic environment impact sales - it's not just clever advertising techniques and appealing products alone.

In a recession, businesses must be agile and ready to adjust their Inbound Marketing strategies. Creating a positioning statement that is tailored to this environment requires understanding what is currently trending in the market and how your customers are affected by the downturn.


Marketing during a recession - what do your customers need most?

In the current economic climate, you need to understand what your customers need most and how to meet their needs.

Let's look at how's messaging has shifted. Gong serves a series of use cases. At a high level, the technology company offers a platform for companies to analyze sales calls and gather insights that help them close more deals.

For this example, let's look at two positioning statements:

Upmarket positioning: Helping your sales team scale

During prosperous times (and if your GTM strategy is successful), both revenue and team size are likely to increase. That's where GONG comes in. They can help your sales team scale faster than ever before.

Downmarket positioning: Doing more with less

But now, amid an economic recession, companies have to do more with less. Instead of always expanding their teams, they need to find ways to streamline their operations and maximize efficiency. So, GONG adjusted its positioning to reflect its second use case - help businesses become more productive with their current staff.

As you can see, "Doing More with Less" is a more effective message for companies where hiring is stagnant.


Creating your brand's positioning during a recession

Your position statement is the message your market will take away at every single brand/product touchpoint.

If your segmentation and targeting have already been defined, it is now important to adjust your position to meet a new set of objectives.

“Positioning is not what you do to the product, it's what you do to the mind of the customer. It’s how you differentiate your brand in their mind.

Positioning compensates for our over-communicated society by using an oversimplified message to cut through the clutter and get into the mind.

Positioning focuses on the perceptions of the prospect, not the reality of the brand/product.”

- Al Ries & Jack Trout

Looking at the GONG's positioning statements during two different economic environments, the SaaS company has in essence, create two ‘brands’. 

Looking at your use cases

Your positioning statement needs to be rooted in research and facts from both the past, present and future. It should be created based on a firm understanding of your customers, competitors, and your company.

In order to form an accurate positioning statement, your company should complete a series of exercises. However, if you're short on time, ensure that you at least understand the use cases for your product/service. Once you have this information compiled, creating a well-defined positioning statement based on different "brands" (ie - use cases) will be much easier.

Create your positioning statement with Six & Flow

Six & Flow is a growth agency that specialises in helping companies create positioning statements. As part of our workshop process, we work with your team to create a positioning statement by:

  1. Answering the 3C's - Competition, Customer, Company
  2. Creating a perceptual map
  3. Creating a benefit ladder


Businesses must be agile and ready to adjust their marketing strategies for a recession. It is important to understand what is currently trending in the market, how your customers are affected by the downturn and create a positioning statement that is tailored for this environment.

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