29 July 2021

Marketing in a Downturn

The world is moving online. That much, at least, is clear.

While most of us had planned a slow pivot to digital in the near to medium term, world events have placed their thumb on the scale and our timelines must accelerate accordingly. So, how do we make this pivot quickly, efficiently, and even profitably?

The Path Forward

On average, every $1 invested in email marketing returns $42 in revenue (Specht, 2019). This is a big part of why we all had plans to go digital in the first place!

Further, digital channels are much more adept at collecting and integrating customer behavioral and purchase history, and data is the key to delivering marketing campaigns to the ‘Right Customer, in the Right Place, at the Right Time’ – the Gold Standard of personalized marketing and loyalty.

Highly targeted campaigns also cut costs. Sending to just those leads or customers who are In Market for your offer allows you the flexibility to sweeten your offer or fatten your bottom line by reducing waste and inefficiencies.

Email ROI by Industry

Email Marketing ROI by Industry

Revenue Automation has extensive experience integrating custom, disparate data sources to provide our clients with a 360-degree view of each of their customers, and that solid foundation of data allows businesses to close the loop from offer to purchase and provide the best possible experience for the customer. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Where are your new leads coming from?
  • Where does your customer data reside? Can you leverage it for marketing quickly?
  • Is your data customer focused or product/service focused?
  • Are you customers segmented?
  • The economy and personal finances have changed. Are your old segments still meaningful?
  • Are you existing campaigns still producing good results? If not, why not?
  • If your customers’ needs have changed, how will you find that out and meet those new needs?

How do we Segment our Customers Then?

With all these new financial and health concerns at customers’ top of mind, how can we re-engage with them in a respectful and productive way?

Loyal Customers are your Foundation

As many consumers tighten their belts, the trust you’ve built with your existing customers will be the lifeblood of your business and marketing operations. Build on this trust, keep delivering great value, and maintain your core brand identity. However, recognize that your customer’s psychology and spending behaviors will almost certainly change.

Harvard Business Review suggests reevaluating your customers with these four segments (Quelch & Jocz, 2009):

  • Slam-on-the-brakes: those who feel most vulnerable and drastically reduce all spending.
  • Pained-but-Patient: financially more optimistic or resilient, but delay purchases and economize where they can.
  • Comfortably well-off: maintain spending at or near pre-crisis levels. Even if their spending levels don’t change, they may choose to be less conspicuous in their purchases.
  • Live-for-Today: Spend what they have with little regard for saving. Their purchasing plans don’t change significantly, they just extend timetables.
Consumer Behavioral Segments

Segmenting by consumer behavior in a recession

Additionally, you can categorize your products and services as Essentials, Treats, Postponables, or Expendables to estimate how your sales mix may change (Quelch & Jocz, 2009).

Invest in Relationships to Build Trust

Grow your ‘Share of Mind’. As the old adage goes, “When time are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.” During times of upheaval, consumer patterns and loyalty can shift and change. Staying top of mind helps you retain your current customers, but also capture the customer base of your competitors who may have pulled back their marketing activities and cut budgets.

We here at Revenue Automation consider it a pleasure and a privilege to guide you and serve you as we all work through this ‘New Normal’ to a safer and more prosperous digital world.

Works Cited

Adgate, B. (2019, September 5). When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising. Retrieved from Forbes:

Cher, A. (2020, 04 14). Countries risk second wave of coronavirus infections by easing restrictions too early, says expert. Retrieved from CNBC:

COVID-19 Impact on Daily Life Heightens. (2020, 04 13). Retrieved from Monmouth University:

Quelch, J., & Jocz, K. E. (2009, April). How to Market in a Downturn. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:

Specht, B. (2019, April 18). The ROI of Email Marketing. Retrieved from Litmus:

US States with Tentative Re-opening dates. (2020, 04 17). Retrieved from internewscast: