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How to Maximize Your B2B Marketing Budget During a Recession

By: Sarah Gibson

Strategic marketing during a recession adds additional challenges beyond the usual marketing considerations. When your company is facing economic difficulties from an impending or ongoing recession, your clients typically are, too—and when potential and current customers can’t afford to patronize your business at the usual level, that leads to losses for you as well.

Luckily, a solid plan and some strategies for adaptive marketing in a recession can help you weather any storms that an economic downturn might send your way. While some tips are intuitive, like using budget-friendly marketing tactics instead of pricier options, other effective methods of marketing in a recession might surprise you.

Our Top 5 Recommendations for Where to Invest Your Company’s Marketing Efforts to Stay Profitable in the Face of a Recession

1. Increase Your Google Ad Spend

One of our top economic downturn marketing strategies is increasing your budget for Google Ads. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend more on marketing when money is tighter, there are a few reasons that you can find success with an increase in your Google ad spending.

Optimizing Google Ads campaigns allows potential customers to notice your brand and move forward with reviewing your products or services to make a purchase. When you pair text ads with the ideal keywords for your offerings, you have the potential to draw in a new audience of leads without spending a fortune or having to go to great lengths to create the ad content.

If they already work well for you (or if you haven’t experimented with them yet), try your hand at developing new text or display ad campaigns—ideally, you’ll see more rewards in exchange for minimal extra work and spending on your team’s side.

6 Tips for Enhancing Your Google Ads Performance

2. Produce Content with a Long Shelf Life

We all aim to practice value-based marketing, and when you create content that gives you the most bang for your buck, you’re sure to get the maximum returns possible. The easiest way to accomplish this is by forgoing any ephemeral topics in favor of classic, evergreen content that you can reuse and keep relevant for longer.

So instead of spending your time on a blog post about a short-lived trend or a holiday that will come and go, try to think about the major topics that you can use and promote for a long stretch of time. Put your effort and money into creating whitepapers, blog posts, and ads about your essential products and services or ever-popular subjects for your industry. When you have content that can be relevant now, in six months, and even in a year, you can save on future content creation without limiting your ability to self-promote on your website and social media in the future.

3. Prioritize Competitor Research

To know how your business is doing in a recession, you need to peek at how your competitors are doing, too. Conducting competitor research is a solid plan to make sure your company is on track for your industry given the current economic state. Staying on top of your competitors’ business—literally—provides valuable insights from their marketing efforts that you can use to improve your own campaigns, either by changing what you offer or by setting yourself apart.

If you notice offers or sales that you could emulate, it could be worth looking into your options to stay competitive. Seeing their marketing strategies can also help you highlight how you’re unique and what makes your company the best; when you’re creating your own marketing campaigns, remember what you learned from theirs and decide how you want to set yourself apart from the crowd of competitors and their offerings.

4. Invest in More Brand-Building Initiatives

Digital marketing in a recession looks different from regular times, and you’ll need to employ different tactics to grow brand awareness during a difficult economy. The most important thing to remember is that a recession provides even more reasons to invest in building your brand; the more awareness surrounding your products and services, the more leads you’ll manage to convert into customers.

So even if a looming recession makes you want to cut your brand-building plans, don’t. Making sure your messaging, logo, content marketing pieces, social media accounts, and more are updated and appealing is the first step toward getting more business. Put in the time and effort to perfect your branding, and along with your other marketing plans, you’ll be on track to stay afloat even in a recession.

how to increase b2b brand awareness

5. Create a Customer Retention Plan

The way to keep your revenue as high as possible is to retain as many customers as you can during the economic downturn. Cost-effective marketing will always be easiest when you can focus your efforts—and budget—on existing accounts and clients rather than going on an expensive search for more customers.

To start, you’ll want to look at your existing customer retention plan (if you have one) and adjust for any changes from the recession. Which of your tools are still effective, and which areas need an update to maximize your customer retention? Do you have any tactics for upselling customers or improving their experience with your brand? Retaining your customers is vital even in the best of economic times, so strive to give great customer service, promote new offerings to existing clients, highlight your brand’s unique mission, and more—make it as easy as possible for your customers to keep choosing you over and over again.

Marketing Budget Changes in 2023

In 2023, marketing budgets are expected to rise for most companies.1 The ways marketing budgets are spent this year are sure to vary from previous years, but the important trend is toward overall growth. Even so, it’s essential that you spend that increased budget wisely; without careful planning for your 2023 marketing campaigns, you could be risking not only the budget itself but the opportunities to advance your business through marketing success.

Whether we face a recession or not, we know the B2B marketing space will look different in 2023. It’s crucial to stay on top of the latest trends, which is why Sagefrog published the 2023 edition of our annual B2B Marketing Mix Report. Get the data you need to plan your marketing program from over 900 B2B marketing experts’ responses and find out which strategies and tactics are expected to have the most success this year.

Closing Thoughts

At Sagefrog, our team of B2B marketing experts has the experience to deliver powerful marketing strategies and tactics—including recession-proof marketing—all for the advancement of your company’s products and services. Get in touch with us today to accelerate your success in any economy. And if you’re looking for more insights about the future of B2B marketing budgets, check out the recording from Sagefrog’s latest webinar below.

emerging marketing trends & tactics for 2023


  1. Marketing Budget: How Much Should Your Team Spend in 2023? [By Industry], HubSpot