Best Approach for Strong Media Planning During a Recession

Best Approach for Strong Media Planning During a Recession
We have all, at this point, seen the headlines indicating an economic slowdown. To brace for this slump, several marketers have already cut their marketing expenditures; some companies have even stopped spending entirely.

Early in June, the World Bank cut its projections for global growth to 2.9% for 2022, citing the possibility of stagflation—a period of persistently high inflation coupled with stagnating demand and rising unemployment—that would be reminiscent of the 1970s in most of the world. A worldwide recession is now widely believed to be all but unavoidable as a result of the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, and other existing unfavorable economic factors.

This economic crisis will cause difficulties for many industries. This is especially true for the advertising sector, which is so tightly correlated with customer concerns and behavior. Additionally, it is still recuperating from the pandemic's chaos. 

This type of prediction identifies chances for organizations to achieve their marketing goals. It is not uncommon to be cautious in a shaky economy. However, there are also examples of businesses that suffered as a result of being overly cautious in preparing for the storm.

Not to mention the inspiring examples of businesses that thrived because they took calculated risks and stayed the course. These cautionary tales serve to remind us of the following:

During a recession, ROI is still feasible, especially with thorough media planning.

It is more important than ever to be focused and adaptable in order to capitalize on opportunities and innovate. If you're willing to ride the wave, here are five tips to keep your media planning on track for future expansion.

1. Serve as a soothing influence

  1. First of all, resist the urge to read too much into the headlines. Digital advertising's flexibility is one of its many appealing qualities. These two guidelines are still valid:
  2. Keep up your internet advertising if it's effective.
  3. Act appropriately if you notice campaigns weakening.
  4. Avoid letting impending anxiety dictate your marketing plan. Instead, base your decisions on facts and established tolerances.
Now is the time to get everyone on the same page about when to back off. Later on, improper alignment will cause jerk reflexes to stop. Your group should really take into account the following:
  1. What causes a reduction in marketing spending?
  2. Where will the money come from if marketing spending is cut back? What effect will it have?
  3. What sets off the return to regular marketing spending?
When changes or important events take place throughout a campaign, anxiety, worry, and concern will be reduced if tolerances have been established with your internal team or agency of record. Establishing clear expectations and boundaries in the beginning will help you prevent conflict later on.

2. Indoctrinate proper tracking

Assuring precise tracking is more crucial than ever. In order to do this, every conversion action across every ad and keyword at every stage of the buying funnel must be tracked. Keeping thorough records of profitability, lifetime value, and repeat customers is required for this. Carry out the following actions to make proper tracking preparations:
  1. To check whether pixels are firing properly, tag them.
  2. Use dynamic URL parameters to keep track of each ad and its terms. After that, configure your CRM system using the parameters.
  3. To transmit meaningful data back to ad networks, employ platform connectors with your martech stack. Our favourite connectors include those for Salesforce, Marketo, Calendly, Intercom, and Invoca.
During a recession, proper tracking is even more important. We may infer from consumer behavior that when the economy is struggling, consumers delay making important decisions. Conversion rates decline lower down the funnel as a result. You could be in for a shock if you're simply monitoring the early lead and disregarding how it performs over time.

3. Continue regular updates

The next phase is acquiring visibility of the most recent data once reliable tracking has been implemented. Going into a recession, having immediate access to instrumental data is essential for being able to react swiftly to trends.
  1. Implement the following workflow steps to create procedures for timely and pertinent data:
  2. Automate the data flow to guarantee at least daily data updates.
  3. Create notifications that will go off if conversion rates or other indicators at the bottom of the funnel begin to decline.
  4. Don't answer right away. A trend does not start in one day. Also keep in mind that many digital ad networks rely on machine learning, which can precisely respond to trends.

4. Remove wastages right away.

Reviewing your marketing expenditure now can help you find any weak spots. Regarding how well each channel is performing, be sincere with yourself. To choose your future moves, ask the following questions:
  1. Is each channel in your media plan serving its purpose?
  2. Is there any channel that has uneven performance from week to week?
  3. Also, keep in mind that a test budget is not a squandered budget.
Inform your employees that testing must go on even when the economy is bad. Silo a test budget to support continuous education. Later, your campaigns and stakeholders will be grateful.

5. Capitalize on gaps left by competitors.

And, in the event of a downturn in the economy, marketing is generally one of the first costs to be evaluated and reduced. However, while some businesses cut back on marketing, others double in and discover tremendous efficiencies created by market gaps.
  1. Competitive research should be prioritized by brands looking to bridge the gap and win market share. Activities that are typical include, but are not limited to:
  2. Examine your competitors' media mixes to spot possibilities.
  3. Set up competition notifications to rapidly identify when your rivals' spending has changed, and be ready to capitalize on the opportunity with a budget.
  4. To detect further holes left by rivals, use technologies such as Pathmatics, SEMRush, and Adbeat.

6. Get Your Creativity Going

Brands competing for the same market share may equal or lower pricing, imitate your strategy, replicate your media strategies, but they won't be able to imitate your creative process.

In general, creative advertising is a good idea, but during a recession, the case for innovation is much more crucial.

Although most companies can't control their size, every marketer may use innovation. According to studies, innovative messaging may increase brand loyalty, increase revenue, and get more attention. 

A highly creative advertising campaign may roughly double the sales effect of a non-creative campaign for every dollar spent on it. Without creativity, you could be passing up money. And in a recession, this might be a mistake you can't afford to make.


It's hard to refrain from cutting back on spending when the economy appears to be headed for trouble. However, once the dust has settled and competitors have redistributed market share, re-engaging might be difficult and more expensive.

Follow these media planning guidelines in tough economic times to calm concerns.
  1. Prepare and update your stakeholders consistently.
  2. Early tolerance establishment will help develop alignment when problems emerge.
  3. Rely on the system and platform's algorithms to function as intended.
  4. Prioritize timely and pertinent information to inform your strategic decisions.
  5. Reduce the waste from unsuccessful advertisements and budget for testing.
An effective media strategy is essential for the upcoming days. Even in the most uncertain of circumstances, brands that prioritize logic, patience, preparedness, and optimization will see continued development.

The economy is constantly changing, so the only thing that will remain constant is that the changes will happen faster or slower and that the intervals between them may get shorter. As a result, your marketing toolkit will need to include strategies for adjusting your planning, stepping up your creativity, and utilizing technology.

The final point is that your marketing team should strive to accomplish more with less during a recession, and there is no better way to do this than by utilizing the tools and technologies you already have to boost productivity and efficiency.

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