Growth marketing in a recession – Tip #1: Reach new audiences

October 11, 2022
recession marketing - new audiences

Winter is Coming

Everyone is saying that 2023 will hit the economy hard. With each recession we face, there’s also the tail of the dragon – aftershocks that reverberate for months afterwards. Spending will decrease dramatically. Employers will need to make decisions on payroll; do they keep their difficult to find employees or pursue layoffs that help ease the pain?

Some of the markets hardest hit will be businesses that offer a ‘value add’ both to corporate and consumer clientele. Products and services that address the core business, or lifestyle need, will be prioritized.

In B2B sectors, it’s fairly straightforward who will get hit the hardest. Professional service firms, management consulting, IT & Tech startups, tech services – nearly everything on this front will go into a ‘low power mode’ – where spending and investments are likely to be compressed down to bare essentials.


The Opportunity

For these business owners, it seems like a moment to batten down the hatches and keep operating costs to a minimum. Your competitors are facing the same thing. On top of that, the recession may not be all that tough, and could end sooner than expected. This means any investment in your growth now would reap exponential dividends on the other side of this.

Your competitors are likely to get thinned down. This weeds out the weaker businesses in the market and allows the healthier to thrive. Its a moment to leapfrog that doesn’t come often. So, how can you take advantage without heightening risk and over-committing resources?

We’re going to talk through a series of Tips that help SME’s in B2B optimize their marketing and sales investment to better position them for growth through all of this.


TIP #1:   Expanding your reach into new markets

Everything is pointing to a global recession, which means it’ll be hard to find a corner of the world that can serve as your oasis. As a result, those businesses who can exponentially expand their audience digitally will have a larger pool to convert from. While retention and close rates will drop, and cost per acquisition will certainly rise; the business that expands their market virtually will be healthier now, and much bigger and stronger later.

Here’s a few ways to expand your reach:


1Offshore/Nearshore models: Businesses that are outside of the US market, and are well-positioned for offshoring models, should take advantage of the moment. Costs will be scrutinized heavily. If you deliver growth-focused products and services, even better. The likelihood of displacing core business services and tech is low, but supplemental services and tech that ‘keep the lights on’ will thrive.

  • Marketing services
  • IT support
  • Customer experience support
  • Software Development


2Audience segmentation:The general concept with audience segmentation is that you’re trying to identify smaller and smaller pockets of buyers to move through a buyer’s journey and convert. Creating smaller pockets may sound like the opposite of what you should be doing, but in reality this does wonders for expansion.

An extreme example: Instead of using 100% of your marketing budget for a Superbowl ad and then crossing your fingers for traction after getting eyes from a national audience – you instead decide to surgically nurture through Linkedin with your target audience, but that audience is no doubt tapped out. You’ve been targeting them for years, and your competitors have too. How do you find parallel audiences that will broaden your pool of potential?

    • Identify alternative value propositions: Let’s say you sell industrial chemicals to manufacturers. These chemicals are used essentially to clean parts. In the past, you’ve noticed that the occasional contractor has purchased your products to clean tools and equipment. While its not designed or marketed for that audience, there’s a potential path to segmentation and expansion here with marginal commitment.


  • Isolate higher performing segments and replicate geographically: As you create smaller and smaller pockets of buyers, you’ll gather more intrinsic data on market feedback. This will allow you to make more informed decisions about who is your ultimate buyer, and then open the door to repeating that success in a new region. By compartmentalizing this approach, you’re minimizing the investment and commitment as you start rinsing and repeating.


3Shift to Digital Marketing It’s a lot of work to relocate a billboard, and when you make a PR announcement, there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. During a recession, you’ll need to do a lot of experimentation while gathering insights along the way, affording you an opportunity to evolve and refine progressively and iteratively.


4Adopting an agile approach You probably already know that Digital is your go-to form of outreach for now, but what you may not understand is that an agile approach to digital marketing is not widely adopted. Most marketing teams, in particular b2b in mid-market, pick a lane then drive it as hard as they can. Preparing for a more nimble, versatile approach to market fluctuations is crucial if you’re going to get success while expanding your reach.


5Brand refinement and repositioning – If your current target market is dead center and immovable, then making adjustments to your brand and messaging will be necessary to see growth. Your Current market knows you as X, but they didn’t realize you could be Z. Your competition is more likely to stay an X and retreat into what they know – which opens the door fo you to make a more strategic positioning move.

In addition to expanding your current market, this also does wonders for retention. By simply making a few alterations, this can go a long way to impressing upon your clients that you’re growing, not retracting though this.


There’s a number of other ways to help you effectively and efficiently expand your reach as you prepare for a recession. It’s all dependent on your unique situation, goals and resources.

Feel free to contact us for more information, we’d be happy to sit down and chat. We’re here to help your business keep its momentum.

Coming soon: Tip#2 – Focused Marketing Automation

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