Despite being written one year ago, the HBS article, ‘Marketing Your Way Through a Recession’, is still relevant today. In the piece, professor John Quelch explains that the is key is to marketing during a recession is understanding how the needs of your customers and partners has changed, and adapting your strategies to the new reality.

Much of what Quelch imparts in his article is as relevant for those in communication, as it is for those in marketing:

Research the customer. Preferences have changed, and so communicating successfully with your audience will rely on understanding their new needs. This will also help you target clients more effectively and not waste any of your time, energy or spend.

Focus on Family Values. During hard times, people spend more time at home and focus their attention on those closest to them, therefore images of homely scenes will have a big impact as people seek to be comforted.

Maintain communication spend. Now is the time to negotiate great rates and lock these in for the long-term. By maintaining strong communications with your customers now, you will have a greater chance of gaining market share at low cost, as well as gaining a lasting an edge over the competition.

Know your plans well. Understanding your current strategy well will help you to eliminate those areas that are weak and adapt your strategy to the current climate without affecting outcomes.

Support your partners. Everyone is struggling, but by working together with your partners, you may be able to find new and better ways of achieving your goals, whilst simultaneously building strong relationships that will help you survive the downturn.

Emphasize core values. While lay-offs may be inevitable, now is the time to cement the loyalty of those who remain by assuring employees that the company has survived difficult times before by maintaining quality rather than cutting corners and focusing on existing and key customers. CEO visibility will be key. 

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