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There’s no sugar-coating the economic challenges faced by Alberta over the past few years. SMBs have had to adjust in many ways, and one of the things that tends to get cut first, is the marketing budget. While this reactionary mode decision is understandable, it doesn’t make sense since now is the time you need to acquire new customers/clients more than ever before. Now we’re not saying that adjustments to your budget should not be made, as you absolutely should make changes. But instead of clearcutting, transitioning to the most efficient and proven means of marketing is the key. That means, is online marketing. 

Below is a summary of why increased adoption of online marketing make sense during even the most tumultuous of economic times.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Adopt or Increase Digital Marketing in a Slow Economy

You Can Directly Track the Results

Billboards, outdoor signage, newspaper/magazine ads, TV and radio spots. Pundits like to quote local daily foot traffic, readership, viewership, and listenership into the thousands if not more. However, there is no true way to know gauge the number of people who saw your specific ad, nor can you know detailed demographics (outside of “they are in Calgary”). More importantly, you gain no insight into how they felt about your ad and whether or not it encouraged them to take the action you wanted them to take (contact, purchase, etc.).

With online marketing however, everything is trackable. When it comes to online search and PPC campaigns Google Analytics will tell you everything you need to know, as data provides insight into how people found your site, and what they did or didn’t do while there. There are answers to who, what, where, when, and even why, whereas traditional marketing simply can’t provide you with that explicit level of detail. 

One of the best parts about this, is that online marketing analytics can also identify new consumer markets you didn’t know were interested in your product/service. That is extremely important during an economic downturn as you could be ignoring a very lucrative market, low hanging fruit that is just waiting for you to pick. For instance, as a Calgary business you may be focusing on acquiring customers/clients from the highly competitive metropolitan area. However, after digging into your website’s analytics you may uncover that a disproportionately high level of traffic is coming from Okotoks. With this information, you can retarget your marketing message by making your pitch more relevant to customers/clients in Okotoks. This leads us to the next key point.

Real Time Marketing = Adaptable Marketing

In traditional marketing, you release your ad into the wild and the marketing message maintains until the contracted period is complete, typically a month or more. Never mind the fact that you can’t actually track its effectiveness (as per item #1 above) but should you see no increased business activity after the ad’s release date, you can’t take immediate action to change your marketing message. Simply put, you’re handcuffed.

But with online marketing, you can both monitor progress (or otherwise) and change your marketing message in real time. This is true of search, PPC, email, and social media marketing. Better yet, you can perform A/B tests using different text, imagery, offers, times of day, and general calls-to-action until you find the versions that convert visitors into customers best. You can also adjust your PPC and social media ad spend on the fly too. 

When it comes to marketing during an economic downturn you need this sort of immediate flexibility, especially if you can’t afford to maintain status quo for even just one more month.

It Delivers a Greater ROI Than Traditional Methods

During an economic downturn the cake and ice cream go out the window and it becomes all about ROI and nothing more. And this is where digital marketing delivers. 

Given the analytics that digital marketing affords, you can see exactly how much it costs to bring in a customer/client. For instance, these costs can be broken down per click, per impression, per email, and more. Drawing the line between your marketing dollar and customer acquisition is proven in online marketing. When you’re watching every dollar you spend during an economic downturn, you need this literal accountability. 

Your Competition Is, and Isn’t

One very simple way to look at this, is to look at competition. You’re all feeling the crunch of a slow economy, and only those who proactively seek new business will weather the storm. 

Businesses that cut their marketing budget are basically saying that they will no longer invest in new customer/client acquisition. If their current customer/client base is big enough to sustain profitable or even breakeven operations through the predicted fiscal rough patch, then great. However, this is more often than not the case. Long story short, those that halt customer/client acquisition initiatives will all but inevitably fold before the economy comes back to form.

Businesses that instead cut out the unknown variables of traditional advertising and alternatively invest in data-driven and adaptable forms of marketing (read: digital marketing) will get a leg up on the competition. They will pick up the customers/clients laying in wait, along with the scraps that their now-folded competitors have lost.

So ask yourself, will you cut your marketing budget and let the competition who has maintained theirs reap the benefits? Or, will you shift your budget to a more efficient form of marketing to gain a competitive advantage? It’s either you, or them.


We must conclude with another statement about the necessity of online marketing. Whether in a recession, economic downturn, or thriving economy, it is unequivocally the future of lead generation and customer/client acquisition. Heck, even brick and mortar stores have to throw their hat into the online area, after data has been released stating that 82% of smartphone users consult their devices on purchases they are about to make in-store (your store?). 

To ignore this is to get left in the dust. Within the current economic downturn you can find a silver lining that points directly to the future success of your business. Contact our Calgary area digital marketing firm at 403.910.4595 for a friendly, noncommittal conversation about what we can do for you.

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