Click play to listen to the rant.

Why is it that when the shit gets real, the ill-informed big mouths take centre stage?


On the brink of a recession, probably already in one, the scars of 2008 are still visible for many, and we’ve got top-notch advice from ‘MArkETEeRs’ like:

‘DoN’T cuT yOUr MaRkEtInG BuDGeT. AD OPTimISE’

‘NoW Is The TimE tO EXcITE YouR CusTOMERs’

‘PEoPLe DoN’t BuY WhAt yOu DO, peOplE BuY WHY yOu dO iT’


Really? This is the best we’ve got?!

This is the advice we’re desperately consuming like sweet nectar, believing it gives us the superpowers to destroy the recession demon, sent to destroy our brand?!

What. The. Actual. Fuck?! Let’s get real.

The agency is telling you NOT to cut your marketing budget? No shit, Sherlock. They’re worried about their retainers (even though they actually mean advertising).

Excite your customers?! If you’ve neglected them up until now, a four-week campaign is going to do fuck all.

Of course, people buy WHAT you do, you moron. Do you really think they care about your purpose when they’re struggling to put food on the table?! Get a grip.

Email’s dead, right? Let’s throw everything behind a £20k Instagram post from an influencer who has never even heard of you, let alone used ANYTHING you’ve produced. How about using influencers to shape what you do…? Now, there’s a novelty.

How to actually market in a recession

For fuck’s sake.

The only way to do marketing in a recession is to sit down with Finance (and Sales).

Make contingency plans.

Plan for worst-case scenarios. The financial baseline. What’s sustainable. Plan based on reality. Leads, conversion, revenue, and profitability. To name a few.

Agree on the metrics you’ll monitor.

Focus on your routes to market. Build the strategy around them.

No ‘one thing’ is going to be a silver bullet. Now is the time to learn from history, not repeat it.

We need holistic thinking. The reality is that marketing is responsible for keeping the lights on. To ensure people have a payslip at the end of the month.

That’s our ‘purpose’.

If we want to be taken seriously, now is not the time to keep trivialising tactics, frameworks, channels, or any other romantic fluff.

Review everything. All the Ps – 7 and 11 (yes, really).

Work out what’s feasible for YOUR business and customers.

Short-term tactics create long-term challenges. Think before you act.

Take your head out of the sand, and face the realities of what marketing actually does, is capable of doing, and its limitations. It’s worth remembering:

  • There are no guarantees. Stop making them.
  • What works for you, may not work for others. Context is critical. One size fits none.
  • Diagnosis before treatment. Always. Symptoms mask the cause.
  • This is about putting the odds in our favour. That’s all we can do.

Most importantly of all, if you want to know why people are disillusioned with marketing? They’re fed up with the bullshit.

Marketing is a core business function. Not the colouring in department. Start treating it as a core function, and you’ll be surprised what competitive advantages you’ll gain to fight the demon.

That’s how you do marketing in a recession.

Share your thoughts

What marketing drivel masquerading as ExPErt advice have you seen? Let me know in the comments below, tweet me @CJPanteny, or get in touch.

And if you liked this blog, don’t forget to share it on your socials and bask in its ranty goodness.

See you next time.

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