Advertising During a Recession: 5 Innovative Marketing Practices


If your digital marketing is thirsty for fresh air and innovation, these ideas may inspire your brand to move forward. Here I’m sharing five practices that help brands discover innovative advertising during a recession.

Photo via Unsplash

It’s never too late to innovate.

You can start innovating your business right now. No time or money is needed to further the initial marketing innovation. Everything starts from realizing that the change is required if you want to see your business thriving and evolving even during a recession. Once a seed of innovation is landed in mind, it activates the potential of growing into a digitally mature marketing strategy that may give your brand a fresh update. Here I’m sharing several digital marketing ideas on how businesses can innovate regardless of the crisis and give their customers more confidence in times of uncertainty.

Adjust Marketing for Recession Psychology

Photo via Unsplash

There is no need to hide from the non-positive consequences of the recent pandemic and lockdown. We need to accept a situation as it is to be capable of building business resilience to all scenarios that may play out soon. The wave of bad economic news has eroded customer trust in businesses and fostered concerns about the financial future. The economic downturn has given birth to new types of customer mindset. Brands must be aware of these types to build a viable digital marketing strategy that may address the needs of all target groups in a recession.

The slam-on-the-brakes. This customer group feels most vulnerable in front of a crisis. They feel fear toward it, start reducing expenses, and postponing purchases for “better times.” Although this segment is formed by low-income customers, people with high incomes that are anxious about the economic future and health issues can fall into this group as well.

Pained-but-patient. They are more resilient to hard times and optimistic about a quick economic recovery. However, they also reduce spendings in all areas possible, and if things go worse, the pained-but-patient may migrate to the slam-on-the-breaks segment. They usually constitute the biggest target group.

Comfortably well-off. These people aren’t necessarily rich but they have confidence in the future and feel stability. They consume nearly as much as before a recession. However, they have only become more selective in their purchases.

The live-for-today. The purchasing behavior of this consumer segment remains almost the same as before a recession. They don’t change their buying habits or preferences. Live-for-today customers aren’t concerned about savings. The recession isn’t a reason for them to stop making big purchases. They are more likely to rent than to own because they consider experience as a more significant value than ownership and stability.

When building a marketing strategy during a recession, you, as a brand, should try to empathize with each of the types mentioned above and address their needs. None should be ignored as they all are your target audience. The only thing that varies for different brands is the percentage of these types in a particular target market. In-depth customer persona research may help you define which consumer mindset dominates among your audience and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Apply Micro-Moment Marketing

The micro-moment. It may last only 5 milliseconds, but they always matter. For instance, 0.05 seconds is enough for customers to decide to leave or stay with your brand when entering a website. The modern world has become more mobile and spins faster than before. Most of the customers are tech-savvy and search products and services via their mobiles. It also means much faster interactions with a brand in the online space.

The duration of the breath is too long if compared to the time the modern customer needs to shape an impression about your brand online. It’s what micro-marketing is intended for — to manage brand-customer relationships during the moments, such as entering an app/site, leaving it, clicking on the “Buy,” “Download,” or “Signup” buttons, etc.

The moment may define the customer attitude toward a brand, behavior, loyalty, and a purchasing decision. So, you should try to make this interaction sweet. Adding fun animation or illustration into the micro-moment of CX may determine your future relationships with customers and whether they come back or leave forever.

UI Animation by Fireart Studio

Use Video-Storytelling

The paradox: storytelling is a traditional way to innovate. As known, storytelling is a powerful marketing technique that allows businesses to build a personal connection with customers and evoke interest to the brand without being obtrusive or too sales-y. Although it is a well-known practice, it still is an inexhaustible source of innovation. Particularly, when it goes about animated video-storytelling.

An animated marketing video offers an extraordinary and creative approach to customers. First, it entertains people. Second, it tells an engaging story that might resonate with the customer’s values, mindset, and desires. Third, it gives customers a solution to their problem by introducing your brand as the best option. Animated marketing for business is an excellent way to innovate a company image by placing it in fun and unexpected contexts, instilling powerful associations, and sticking to the customer memory with bright character designs. Video-storytelling empowers brands to speak and to be heard. A great example of animated storytelling is a video created for Pipedrive by Explain Ninja, which you can watch here.

Offer Innovative Content

Ephemeral content like Instagram or Facebook stories is becoming even more popular today. It lasts just for a while, and its power is hidden in this peculiarity. This kind of content allows interacting with emotional perception. It shares more intimate moments and allows to spy on the person’s or company’s behind-the-scenes life. And it’s likely the most attractive thing about it.

Ephemeral content helps brands build more personal relationships with a target audience. It shows that there are alive humans behind the brand name who work hard and dedicatedly to deliver the best outcome for customers. You can share your brand process, photos of staff, office, celebrations, events, and just fun moments in 24-hour stories. This format may help you build a sharper brand image and stronger emotional tights with customers. A nice instance is a quick Insta-story posted by Levi’s.

Stories by Levi’s

Personalize It Creatively

Mostly, we’re tired by reading the content. Today, we prefer watching and interacting with it. With the advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and AR/VR technology, companies can offer a new level of content personalization and even more exciting ways of interacting with customers. IKEA Place is a famous example of how a brand can integrate augmented reality into customer experience and personalize it creatively.

Many companies also incorporate AI-powered proactive live chats into a website to provide more personalized customer service. Canned responses, creative greetings, replies based on ML, and funny live chat scripts can help deliver a more personalized customer experience. An excellent example is a proactive message on the Vital website.

Proactive chat message by Vital


The economic recession is not a reason to stay apart from innovations. On the contrary, it’s high time to innovate business and marketing. The downturn pushes businesses all over the world to think out of the box, step beyond ordinary patterns, and try something more than well-known practices. By innovating itself, the brand can bring more excitement into the customer reality, gain the audience’s loyalty, and initiate a more active interaction with people. It may result in a more powerful brand image, a more engaged community of customers, and increasing conversion rates even during a recession.

This article first appeared in

Seeking to build and grow your brand using the force of consumer insight, strategic foresight, creative disruption and technology prowess? Talk to us at +971 50 6254340 or mail: or visit

About Author

Dana Kachan

Dana Kachan is a marketing consultant and content manager at Fireart Studio. Consulting and implementing digital marketing for startups and established businesses across various industries, she likes to share insights about marketing, growth hacking, entrepreneurship, product design, and emerging tech in her articles. Dana has written for Yahoo Finance Singapore, ReadWrite, Hacker Noon, Campaign Monitor, Business2Community, and more. You can connect with Dana on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Comments are closed.