How companies can combat a recession with marketing automation

It’s no secret that the business world can be unpredictable. Economic downturns can sneak up on even the most prepared companies, leaving them scrambling to keep their boat afloat. These downturns can hit companies hard:  consumers start spending less and budgets are tightened. But fear not! History has shown us that with the right strategies and innovative thinking, companies can not only survive but thrive during challenging economic times. One such strategy that has been gaining momentum is marketing automation.

Marketing automation is more than just a buzzword. It’s quickly becoming an indispensable part of many businesses. And in a recession, it can be a lifeline for businesses seeking to weather the storm. In this blog post, we’ll explore how companies can combat recessions with marketing automation.

The power of marketing automation

Marketing automation is the use of software and technology to automate repetitive marketing tasks, streamline campaigns, and optimize customer engagement. It allows companies to deliver personalized messages to their target audience. To nurture leads, and measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Marketing automation platforms can handle email marketing, social media, customer relationship management (CRM), and a whole lot more. This blog post mentions a number of very good reasons why you should invest in marketing automation.

Key marketing automation strategies

When fighting off a recession, it’s essential to understand the key strategies you can apply for succes. Here are some actionable steps you can take with marketing automation:.

Customer segmentation

Customer segmentation plays a big role in marketing automation. By dividing customers based on characteristics, behaviors, and preferences, your business can customize marketing to deliver personalized messages, enhance engagement, and drive conversion rates. In uncertain times, precise targeting of your segments gives companies a strategic advantage to maximize marketing investments and adapt to the market dynamics.

For example, a company specialized in recruitment might segment its pool of candidates based on what type of role they had in previous jobs. It could be any type of role, for example ‘finance’, ‘sales’ or ‘administration’. They could then use that information to tailor all communication about new job opportunities. This can further be refined by ‘years of experience’ or ‘availability’ for example.

And another one: a SAAS company that builds bookkeeping software might use their automation platform to create segments based on location. Let’s say their software is ready for Belgium and the Netherlands, but not for other countries. In that case, they may need to send set up different nurturing emails based on the country a prospect is in.

Lead nurturing

Especially in B2B, leads are typically not immediately ready to talk to your sales team. They need further nurturing to go from being a MQL (marketing qualified lead) to a SQL (sales qualified lead). With an automation platform, you can set up lead nurture flows that send automated relevant messages to prospects based on behavior for example. 

A real estate agency can use marketing automation to nurture leads with automated drip email campaigns. As potential buyers or sellers receive valuable content, they are more likely to choose the agency when the time is right.

An e-commerce company can set up nurture flows to nurture leads that at one point abandoned their shopping cart on the webshop. Those nurture flows could contain emails with discounts, information about delivery and so on. Every piece of content may convince the potential buyer to finish their purchase.

Analytics and optimization

Another key advantage of marketing automation is the ability to track and measure the impact of marketing efforts. During a recession, it becomes essential to analyze the return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns to make data-driven decisions. By leveraging the reporting capabilities of marketing automation platforms, businesses can identify which strategies are yielding the best results. Based on that information, they can make adjustments to optimize their marketing efforts.

For example, an e-commerce store tracks customer behavior and shopping patterns to determine which products are most popular. They use this data to optimize their website, display popular items more prominently, and create tailored email campaigns around these products.

Pesonalized customer interactions

During a recession, customers become more discerning about where they spend their hard-earned money. I think we all would. With marketing automation, businesses can segment their customer base and deliver highly personalized content based on individual preferences, demographics, and behaviors. Based on the data your platform gathers over time, you’ll have a lot of information at your disposal. You can use that to create highly personalized experiences. This level of customer understanding enables more tailored marketing efforts, leading to increase customer loyalty and more new leads.

Let’s say you’re doing marketing for a non-profit or NGO. With your automation platform, you could send personalized messages to your stakeholders. You can use first names, membership status, membership start date, birthdays or previous donations to create highly personalized interactions with your contact base.

Consistent multichannel marketing

With budgets tightened, being omnipresent is a big challenge. Marketing automation helps you overcome that challenge: it enables you to create customer interactions across different channels with a minimum of effort. Marketing automation allows businesses to synchronize their messaging across several platforms, like email, social media, apps, advertising and SMS. This approach ensures a consistent brand image and reinforces their value proposition. And it not only broadens the reach but also enables companies to engage with customers where they are most active. Another important thing to note, is that it will also help you do all of this consistently across different channels over time.

As a recruitment company, you could use marketing automation to maintain a presence on multiple channels, such as social media, email, and WhatsApp or SMS. That goes for potential customers as well as for potential candidates. Most platforms like Salesforce or Hubspot have great integrations with specialized HR tools that can help them support all of those channels from within one single platform.

Implementing marketing automation

Getting started with marketing automation is a transformative process that begins with a clear roadmap. First, define your goals and what you intend to achieve with automation, whether it’s lead generation, customer retention, or sales growth. You’ll also need to get a good understanding of your buyer persona’s.

You’ll also need to map out your buyer journey in the beginning if haven’t done so already. It’s important to know what touch points your prospects typically have leading up to a purchase. A buyer journey may look something like the image below: there will likely be different moments of interaction, and it’s often not a very linear process.

Customer journey

After you do all tis, carefully select the right marketing automation platform that aligns with your business needs and budget. There are many many options out there. You may want to set up test accounts for some of the options you find. You can also get some external help when selecting the right tools. Agencies often have a thorough understanding of several platforms and can quickly steer you in the right direction.

There is a whole lot to say about implementing a marketing automation platform. Ad we’ve put all of that information into our Ultimate Marketing Automation Guide, so feel free to use that as a resource to get started. It’s completely free!

The automation payoff

When implementation is done and your team is onboarded the right way, the sky is the limit. About 80% of companies that invest in automation see the ROI within the first 12 months. That’s not us saying it, it’s a statistic you can look up yourself, it’s mentioned on several websites.

And the payoff itself is quite nice: you’ll gain almost 30% of productivity increases on average, and not just in your marketing team. Marketing automation also has a positive effect on your sales team and their results.

In other words: with automation every person on your marketing team can spend a whole day per week on things they previously didn’t get around to. Or if you had a 5 person marketing team, one of them can start doing other things fulltime. They could start a new product launch, or take care of your company’s rebranding for example. The payoff is huge, even without looking at your sales team.

So I think it’s safe to say that marketing automation is a game changer for your company when you are facing a recession. It can mean the difference between struggling to keep your boat afloat on one hand, and thriving in your industry on the other hand. It’s a great strategy for combining quick wins as well as building a long term sustainable ROI making machine.

Calculate your marketing automation ROI

We get it: investing in marketing can be a bit scary. But it doesn’t have to be: this ROI calculator gives you a clear idea about what ROI you can expect from your marketing efforts.