Companies’ #1 mistake during an economic downturn is to ignore their marketing and advertising strategies.

In fact, often companies cut budgets.

Having marketed and worked with clients – and even launching products – during 5 recessions, we have a good idea of what could happen in the upcoming days.

Here are 4 things you should know:

1: How do you get out of the mess? Your message

Part of the way is to change your marketing and advertising message for your landing page, your web ads, your direct mail, your TV, you radio … whatever you are doing it has to have a different message.

You must know how to market if this is going to be a V-curve recovery, as we all hope it to be. In other words, there will be an economic boom starting in the 3rd quarter of this year, which will be magnified in the 4th quarter of this year and 1st quarter of next year.

If a U-Curve unfolds, or an L-Curve or W Curve, then your marketing needs to be adjusted accordingly.

2: Recessions aren’t over in a few days.

You must know what to expect and make changes in all of your marketing.

The economy has crashed. I know this isn’t a surprise to you, but a 34% contraction in the real GDP is probable. An unemployment rate of over 32% more than the Great Depression is likely, with some 50 million people without a job. This is historic unemployment.

Here is a timetable of past recessions:

  • The Great Depression lasted from August 1929 to March 1933. That was three years and seven months.
    • Unemployment hit 24.9%.
    • GDP declined to -26.7%.


  • The Carter Recession lasted one year and four months, from November 1973 to March 1975.
    • Unemployment reached 9%.
    • GDP declined to -3.2%.


  • The 1980 Recession lasted six months, from January to July 1980.
    • Unemployment went as high as 12%.
    • GDP declined to -2.2%.


  • The 1981-1982 Inflation Recession took place between July 1981 and November 1982. That was one year and four months.
    • Unemployment hit 10.8%.
    • GDP decline to -2.7%.


  • The 1990s Recession took place over eight months between July 1990 and March 1991.
    • Unemployment reached 7.8%.
    • GDP declined to -1.4%.


  • The 2000 Dot-Com Recession lasted eight months from March to November 2001.
    • Unemployment reached 6.3%.
    • GDP declined to -0.3%.


  • The Great Recession / Stock Market Crash ran from December 2007 to March 2009. During that one year and four months …
    • Unemployment reached 10%.
    • GDP declined to -5.1%.


  • The 2020 Coronavirus Shutdown … we don’t know how long this will last, but many are expecting a V-shaped recovery. However, there is the possibility that we’ll see a U-, or L-, or W-shaped recovery.
    • Already, unemployment is over 30%.
    • GDP is down 20% to 30%!

How Companies Survive … and Even Profit in a Recession

3: I started my business during that first recession in 1980s, right out of college … and had to learn marketing the hard way. During that time, we turned small entrepreneurs into multi-million-dollar corporations by doing it right.

Unfortunately, 70 % of all marketers are cutting all or more of their advertising budgets.

Some because of closures or the inability to do business.  But, for most companies, slashing their marketing and advertising budget is counterproductive.

11% of companies have the same marketing budget; 9% have increased their budget.

To know how companies profit and grow in a recession, here are some stats on the history of marketing:

  • A McGraw Hill research study of recession marketing revealed that those that maintained or increased their advertising during a recession posted an average sales growth of 256% after the recession.
  • In the last recession, only 18% of companies increased their marketing. As a result, their market share growth outpaced other businesses by 2.5 times.
  • Harvard Business revealed that of 4,700 companies in the 2008-2009 recession, 17% went bankrupt or were acquired … 80% slowly recovered within three years after the recession ended … 9% grew during and after the recession. That 9% had increased their marketing and advertising budget during the hard times.
  • And Frankenberger and Graham found that firms that advertised during a recession increased sales, during and after, and gained a head start in the recovery. They also dominated their industry for up to three years after the recession.

In short, cutting your ad budget in bad times prolongs the negative effects of a recession.

Those who increase their ad budget can profit quicker and stronger than those who don’t.

And increasing your ad budget positions you to dominate your market.

As Henry Ford once wisely said: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” And finally …

The Clock Is Ticking

4: Realize the clock is ticking and your marketing team has to realize the following stages in a recovery …

  • PARALYSIS: Shut down now to May.
  • FEAR: May transition.
  • CAUTION: June PPP ends.
  • CONFIDENCE: July to August.
  • EXCITEMENT: September to October.
  • ENTHUSIASTIC: November to December.

Need help in adjusting your marketing?

Here are 2 things you should do:

  1. Listen to our webinar, Marketing and Advertising During the Historic Pandemic Crisis: 7 Emergency Actions Presidents and Marketing Directors Should Do in this Economic Collapse. Click here. It covers the 7 emergency actions and a whole lot more.
  2. Call Caleb immediately at 615-814-6633. Tell him what you’re doing and what your situation is. Without cost, he will be glad to listen, give advice and give you action steps you can take now. You can email him at: