During a recession, or general economic downturn (like a pandemic), brands can be tempted to pause marketing activities as a cost-saving initiative. Many companies across the globe were forced to take a hard look at their books over the past couple of years and the mass layoffs are not slowing down. As a result, it’s likely that marketers are being asked to axe ad spending to cut costs. 

However, as research and experience of previous recessions have shown, continuing to actively market your brand when a recession hits is critical and can have huge benefits – both in the short-term, and into the future. Instead of slashing marketing budgets, brands need to look at ways to optimise media mix and invest in channels that are profitable. Finding the right balance ensures that marketing budgets are properly allocated for reach, efficiency and frequency.

A cost-effective and efficient recession marketing plan should not dismiss  social media. According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social media users use social media to research products and 71% are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals. With influencers already at the centre of online marketing, influencer marketing is a cost-saving way of spreading brand messaging to a wide audience. If done right, influencer marketing can have a significant impact on brand awareness as well as brand sentiment, both of which are imperative to maintain and grow during tough market conditions. 

According to a report, 61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations and only 38% trust branded (and often biased) branded social media content. Generation Z, people aged between 16 and 23, are most likely to respond to influencer marketing efforts.– highlighting the trust granted to influencers by their audiences. 

Influencers are experts at keeping their audience engaged, establishing themselves as trusted voices within a niche and creating a variety of content to engage with specific target audiences. All of these skills are highly beneficial when developing a recession marketing strategy that leverages influencers’ social media expertise to establish a brand’s share of voice, and protect its brand resilience. 

60% of marketers shared that influencer-generated content performs better and drives more engagement than branded posts. Partnering with the right influencer can not only be a low-cost recession marketing asset but influencers can also give brands a boost in terms of reliability and keep their brands relevant and top of mind during a time when consumers are careful with their spending.

When selecting influencers to partner with, brands need to consider ways to leverage influencers of different sizes to maximise the effectiveness of their campaigns, particularly during a recession. Given that word-of-mouth marketing is so highly-effective, many brands are increasingly partnering with UGC creators to help create more buzz around their campaigns. 

For lower advertising spend, micro-influencers with 10K-50K followers generally offer a higher return on engagement than their larger influencer counterparts. As such for brands with a niche target audience, targeting low-cost influencers 

It’s critical for marketers to make the investment now into future-proofing their brands to get them through tough economic times. Research is already showing that when a recession hits, consumers turn to online communities for support, and that’s where marketing spend is going to have the most impact. 

Influencer marketing isn’t like other channels because it provides solutions to a range of business challenges: creative, reach, and content for brand channels, allowing brands to stretch their budgets and reach the right audience. 

Alex Frolov is CEO and co-founder of HypeAuditor.