By Published On: September 29, 2020

Keep Talking – 5 things to avoid during a recession

“Keep Talking” has been our ongoing theme since the pandemic started. After all, it’s not the first time we’ve been here. As a business that went through the 9/11/2001 recession, the (not so) Great Recession and now the COVID-19 pandemic recession, we’ve seen and experienced some things. Oh boy, have we! So, based on experience, here’s what not to do during a recession:

  1. Don’t rely on the prevent defense.
    What do we mean by this? The prevent defense in marketing is stopping all marketing, not communicating with customers and not reaching out to prospects. It’s saving money by not reaching out to the people who need you the most right now – your customers (and prospects, of course).Why doesn’t it work? Because your brand will all but disappear (or worse) without communications. People depend on your brand to be strong, supportive, and to help them find their way through this. The prevent defense communicates you don’t care (even if you do), you are afraid (even if you aren’t) and you don’t value your customers (even if you do). Now is the time to get out there, take a stand and build/refine your brand messaging.
  1. Don’t be tone deaf.
    Worse than not talking is acting like everything is normal. Because it’s clearly not. Don’t go out with the hard sell when people are hurting, scared and don’t know how to deal with all the unknowns. How can you help them? How can you reach out and show your brand has empathy, heart and authenticity? Create helpful content. Offer products or services that can help. Use appropriate humor to break the ice.
  1. Don’t ignore your competition.
    What is your competition doing? Are they out there advertising and marketing? If not, that’s opportunity! Do they have a solid content plan? Look at what they are doing and differentiate your business to stand out from the crowd. This is imperative during a recession. You shouldn’t ever take the same approach as your competition, but when times are good, you can do marginal marketing and there’s still enough to go around for everybody. In lean times, take a stand, find what makes you different and then develop meaningful, relevant content and messaging around it. What matters is what matters to your customers.
  1. Don’t stop trying things.
    When the Great Recession hit, d.trio was primarily in the direct marketing channel and in the financial services space. If you don’t think that was a kick in the pants, you’re wrong. So, since we didn’t have a roadmap out, we went about transforming our business. We rebranded, built a new website, and focused on what we do best (helping clients define and communicate their value in a benefit-driven way). Then, we started applying that to other industries and other channels. Was it easy? No. Did we have some tough times? Absolutely. But if you don’t stop trying things, you will see results.
  1. Don’t just take our word for it.
    Take it from others who study business like Harvard Business Review – if you keep talking, keep marketing, you’ll come out better in the long run. I know you can do it. If you need help let us know, and we’ll see you on the other side.

Fine-tuning the marketing machine

We were busy this summer reviewing our internal tools and processes. We also made updates and improvements to better serve our clients and help prospects find important agency information. Following are some of the projects we’ve tackled:

Content: In addition to consistently adding new marketing content to our website, d.trio has created a feature section focused exclusively on financial services marketing. We’ve also been a regular blog contributor to – an online resource that helps businesses connect with vendors. Check out our most recent post on “Personalization Do’s and Don’ts” and if you’ve worked with us before, please write a review.

Data and Analysis: For our existing clients, you’ll see campaign results reported using a new tool with easy-to-understand, engaging charts and graphs. We’re also updating our project recap report to highlight key insights by tactic for completed initiatives and strategic recommendations for the next one.

Capabilities: For prospects, we’ve updated our case studies to focus only on the problem, the solution and the results. They’re quick reads that hone in on the most important information you need when searching for an agency. We’ve also worked on some exciting new digital campaigns with strong results. Ask us to see our digital capabilities presentation if you need help.

Connecting: We’re following our own B2B marketing advice and using a variety of tools to connect with potential clients. We use LinkedIn to connect with companies who could benefit from our services. We actively engage in SEM. And we retarget our website visitors with ads to remind them we’re here and ready to help. This mix of tactics keeps prospects flowing into our marketing tunnel.

Engagement: We’ve implemented a chatbot feature on our website to help visitors quickly find the information they need. And if you’re lucky, it will even greet you by name. Watch for this and more website enhancements coming soon!

Give your brain a break

With so much to stress about these days, we can certainly all use a fun, lighthearted distraction now and then. Which is why our creative department put together a little microsite filled with things to give your brain a much-needed break. On it, you’ll find silly videos, coloring pages, music playlists, and some other things we like—and think you’ll like, too. The plan is to update it regularly with fresh content that will entertain you, help you relax, and maybe even teach you a thing or two. Join the fun today.


Our Labor Day weekend photo album

Tim decided to try some backyard camping with his boys to start the Labor Day weekend. The long weekend for Tim started with a very long Friday night as the boys (per usual) had a lot more energy than he anticipated. Finn started kindergarten – a combination of both in-person and at-home days. Carol visited a Minnesota State Park for some fresh air. Beth made pimento cheese because she misses going to Atlanta. She talked to her mom and her sister in Arizona a lot. She also went to Subway and stood in line behind a Jimmy Johns guy. His face has been blurred to protect his secrets. Fred took some amazing photos. Mark celebrated his birthday in gastronomic style with a Momofuko restaurant-inspired birthday cake perfectly executed by his wife, Andrea. Danette spent the holiday weekend with her family in the Badger State doing her favorite things – brewery hopping on bikes, relaxing at the lake, and general goofing around. And Sam and Lauren tried out some new recipes including soyrizo mac and cheese.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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