Marketing Strategies During the UK recession.

How bad is the UK recession? Are more people going to lose their jobs? How will my business survive these periods? I am sure these and more are the questions on your mind. Based on OECD, the UK economy is likely to be the hardest hit by Covid-19 among major economies in the world. The last recession the UK economy faced was in 2008, over 27,000 businesses folded according to independent news and now, Office of national statistics shows that the UK economy at end of April 2020 has shrunk x 3, worse than that of the 2008 recession. So in truth, a storm is coming but your business can still withstand it by increasing revenue where possible.

Marketing Strategies

So what can I do?

I will be sharing marketing tips on how to keep your business afloat during economic downtime. The Marketing strategies are based on ‘4p’s’ and customer segment changing behaviour by John Quelch as a guide.

John Quelch divides customers into 4 and their behavioural patterns during downtimes. It is very important to understand the table below to help your business stay alive during downtimes.

I believe John Quelch used Abraham Maslow ‘hierarchy of needs’ to break them down. 

Using the diagrams above, let’s dive in with our strategies.


Review your product or service.

Product under the 1st level of the hierarchy of needs or Essentials, is probably in the safe zone. You need to ensure it is worth every penny if not they are not coming back. During this period, ‘word of mouth’ is never as powerful bad review about your product are not needed. This might be the period to brush up your products and if possible, a time to repackage. Making sure your product will outlast or your services will be delivered beyond expectation. For example, in the eatery business, you will need to work on things such as customer service. Making sure their is excellence at all times and your food (very important) has to be good.

The further you go up the hierarchy, the more difficult it becomes. This is because your product or services starts leaning towards the postponeable or expandable products. However, if you are in these categories, it is not all that bad, You might need to tailor or re-position your products or services more in front of comfortably well off and Live for today customers.

Take Home Task

Which category do your target audience fall under? What level in the hierarchy of needs are your services or products?  Knowing this will help you either reposition yourself to a new audience or diversify in your products or services by looking at what your present customers might also be needing; that way, you can provide it and increase your brand’s wallet share with your customers. Here is an example – If you run a café business and you only provide coffee and morning breakfast, it is time to consider running lunch because your morning customers are most definitely eating lunch out, so why not keep them so they can have both Breakfast and Lunch at your café?


Do not be quick to reduce your price; this will devalue your brand, according to Howard Stevens, chairman and CEO of the HR Chally Group. Customers start to believe they were overpaying at the regular price or that the product is so cheap because there is something wrong with it; so instead of slashing prices, include ad-ons such as free tech support, longer guarantee or return policies.

If for any reason you need to change your price, for example the VAT reduction for hospitalities, let your ads or marketing materials be more value based instead of price based unless the price is a promo offer or selling point. Here are examples:

Values ads - Marketing
Price ads Marketing

One to the left is focused on the Burger and how it will taste like, while the one on the right is focused on what you will get for the amount of £4.99. Notice any difference?


I will refer to ‘place’ as your target market in combination with a place for product distribution.  For instance, if your business is located in Glasgow, it means your core target market are most likely the people based in Glasgow and you will be offering your services within the area. In this case, it is advisable that you explore a new target market by going online to offer products to people beyond your immediate reach.

Go online

This is the time to make your target market as wide as possible. Go online and spread your products! If you are into services, ask yourself, can it be done remotely? If yes, it is time to start finding customers all over the world and not just in your city.  The target market could also change based on income level, that is, moving from one industry to another, so start targeting workers of booming industries. IBIS World listed the 10 fastest industries in UK, you should check them out and possibly see how you can tailor your services or products to this list through promotion, which brings me to the last strategy.


Marketing isn’t optional—it’s a “good cost”. You must keep promoting your services or products.

Now is the time to reach out to your old customers and increase your returning customers’ rate. Not only that, but to see how you can increase your business share in their wallets as mentioned above. Retain old customers by reaching out to them through Social media, Email marketing and phone calls. They already know you and trust you, so they feel safer with you.

Offensive Marketing promotion

The above is a defensive move, you also need an offence move to get new customers. Here you need to work on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and GMB(Google My Business) before you start spending money on any form of ads. If people are searching for your business, you want to make sure that they find you on Google by optimizing your business website and social media for keywords of your services or products, this is very important. All you need is time to optimize your online presence for the keywords your customers will most likely type to find you. Do this first, before you start running any online ads.

In conclusion

Now is not the time to waste money on non-effective campaigns – let data guide you and make sure your landing page (which is the link your ads take people to) is well structured to encourage conversion (either leads or sales). Be guided, it is important you do your research. Use of statistics is key here and with data you can know if you are targeting the right audience. Need help in understanding your data or how to be sure your website is well structured for conversion? Send us an email now.

Lastly, comment below on the strategies you are planning to put in place to keep your business afloat during these times and the possible challenges and platform(s) you are using to achieve this.  

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