Does an economic slowdown necessarily mean that business-to-business marketers have to find even more ways to do more with less? Or can a downturn create opportunity for smart marketers to grow and thrive?
In this guide to B2B marketing during a recession, I answer these questions and share specific strategies you can use to shine when times are dark.
Are We in a Recession?
First of all, I should explain I do not think that the US is in a recession—yet. A recession requires two quarters of negative GDP growth, and the Bureau of Economic Statistics reported 0.6% growth for Q4 2007 while preliminary numbers for Q1 2008 show 0.9% growth.
So we may not yet be in a recession, but times are growing increasingly difficult for consumers. The subprime mess is real, rising energy and food costs are cutting into discretionary spending, and the weakened dollar is importing inflation to our economy.
According to the Web site How I Spent My Stimulus, the $152 billion stimulus package is going primarily to reduce consumer debt or pay for higher gas and food costs, not to stimulate incremental spending.
I like to say that we are in the worst possible non-recession. And, since prior downturns avoided becoming a (global) recession because of resilient spending by American consumers—a saving grace we don't have this time—things may still get worse before they get better.
What Does This Mean for Business-to-Business Marketing?