Surviving an Economic Downturn: Is Now the Best Time to Hire a Marketing Agency? Let’s Find Out.

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Marketing Strategy
Vintage collage of men at the stock market in New York City evaluating stocks representing if hiring a marketing agency in an economic downturn is a wise investment.

December 13, 2022

byAnkit Vora

I love using LinkedIn.

But these days, not so much.

These days I feel disheartened scrolling through my feed.

And there’s just one reason behind it: lay-offs.

Every other day I read a post about a company laying off its employees, especially tech companies. 

Here’s why so many layoffs are happening:

“Over the last few years, when the economy was booming, companies across different sectors were too optimistic – which is why they were over-hiring. One big mistake they made is they didn’t consider what’d happen in case of an economic downturn. You’ll be shocked to know that companies like Meta (previously Facebook), Netflix, Google, Amazon, and many others increased their headcount by approximately 80% from 2019 – 2021. Now, amid recession fears, they’re finding themselves scared – as they’re facing increased pressure from investors. So they are downsizing to fix the mistakes they made.”

Companies currently laying off their employees made one common mistake in the past: OVER-HIRING when the economy was booming. Now, when the economy isn’t performing well, they are facing increased pressure from investors, which is why mass layoffs occur. 

But it’s not just the layoffs. 

Marketing and advertising budgets are also being slashed.

New hirings have frozen.

Companies working with freelancers are terminating their contracts.

I want to be optimistic but can’t – it’s BAD.

Since you’re reading this blog post, I’m assuming you also have a limited marketing and advertising budget. 

And maybe you don’t have the budget to hire new talent (marketers) and invest in your own marketing & tech stack.

BUT! 

That doesn’t mean you should put a STOP on your marketing and advertising efforts.

Now is the time to act smart. 

Did you know that successful companies like Netflix, Airbnb, Lego, and many others have thrived during economic downturns? 

Let’s Talk About These Companies in Detail!

Because of recession fears, companies toss their quarterly or annual forecasts, plans, and models in the trash. 

I know the economy doesn’t look good right now.

But if you read the history books, you’ll find out that bear markets are great breeding grounds for innovation.

Consider startups (now industry giants) like Netflix, Airbnb, Lego, and Mailchimp.

Almost everyone who uses the internet is aware of Netflix. But it wasn’t as popular in 2008 as it is today. Throughout the 2008-2009 recession, Netflix worked on building partnerships with companies like Xbox, which is why they thrived. Other companies were struggling to maintain their revenue numbers.

On the other hand, Netflix saw increased subscriptions and memberships. 

Let’s talk about Uber, Square, and Airbnb. They were founded during the Great Recession or just prior. These companies didn’t just survive the tough times but thrived instead. And it wasn’t just because of their unique offering that allowed their audience to save money but also because of their brilliant marketing. 

Your competitors may have already slashed their marketing or advertising budgets. Maybe, they are not marketing or advertising their business at all. This means the competition isn’t fierce right now. 

Now is the time to capitalize.

But if you don’t have the budget to build your marketing team from scratch or invest in tools, no problem!

You don’t need to have a marketing department in place to market or advertise your brand.  

All you need to do is hire a marketing agency.

As someone who has worked with redfox visual for more than two years, I firmly believe that hiring a marketing agency during an economic downturn is smart. Whether you want to save costs, aren’t able to find the right talent, or another reason altogether, you should consider hiring an agency.

I Reached Out to redfox visual Experts for their Opinions 

Alexander Knopp, Growth Specialist

“Why should you hire a marketing agency during an economic downturn? The answer is simple. Here are just a few of the many benefits of hiring a marketing agency during an economic downturn:

  • Significantly less risk when compared to hiring even one marketing employee. An agency will also likely be less expensive when considering employee salary, benefits, training, etc.
  • Many businesses end up scaling down (both intentionally and/or unintentionally) during a recession so if a business has the means, they then have the potential for the same cash they would’ve spent outside of a recession to go 2x(…) further when marketing their business against competitors during a recession.
  • A marketing agency will likely lose a handful of clients during a recession, so they’ll be eager to do their best work in an effort to maintain current clients and pursue new clients.”

Josh Cremer, Creative Director

The main reason (IMO) comes down to cost. For a business to do its own digital marketing as effectively as we could, they’d need to hire all of us as individual employees. Compare the cost of employees’ salaries, benefits, taxes, etc. to the cost of hiring the agency – the difference is a LOT. A lot of companies think they can find a unicorn. But they will end up with “jack of all trades” results vs specialist results. And likely have to outsource some marketing anyway.”

Rachel Macfarlane, Content Marketing Strategist

“Reducing your workforce is disheartening. I understand. And if you have to do the hard thing, the responsibility of the person you’re laying off will fall on someone else. Soon, one person will handle everything – from running your social media ads to conducting SEO audits to maintaining your website. Finding a ‘unicorn’ like this with experience in these areas is very rare. And if you did find someone like this, they would expect a fat salary. Hiring an agency is the same price as one person’s salary, but you get a whole team with experience in all of those sectors. When your sales are down, now is the time to market. Your competitors are pulling back their marketing efforts, so now is the time to capitalize on that, especially with SEO. You can now surpass your competitors on Google. Hiring an agency is more cost-effective. We don’t need benefits, we don’t get paid time off, and we have our own tools we pay for ourselves.”

Lots of opinions, right?

If you’re a marketer yourself, I’d love to have your inputs too. Reach out to me here and I’ll add relevant inputs to my post.  

So, should you be hiring a marketing agency during this economic downturn?

Let’s discuss this in even more detail.

Surviving an Economic Downturn – Should You Be Hiring a Marketing Agency Right Now?

Maybe your company has announced a hiring freeze. 

Or maybe you had to do one of the hardest things in the world – laying off your marketing department.

And maybe you’ve cut down your marketing budget.

Lots of companies are dealing with one or more of these scenarios right now. 

But there’s one thing you should never do, i.e., put a full stop to your marketing and advertising efforts.

Don’t stop marketing during a recession.

Think of it as an opportunity to thrive. 

You may not have the budget to hire one or more full-time marketing employees. Maybe you stopped paying for your Ahrefs or Mailchimp subscription.

How can you market your brand if you’re not well-equipped? 

The answer is hiring a marketing agency that does the heavy lifting for you.

Last week, we conducted an hour-long meeting where we invited every single one of our team members to discuss this topic. Also, I went through the response of every single marketer I received, and here are the three BIG reasons why you should hire a marketing agency during a recession:

1.) You can hire a team of marketing experts at a lower budget.

2.) You don’t have to spend a dime on marketing tech stack.

3.) You don’t have to stop marketing or advertising; instead, you can thrive.

You can hire a team of marketing experts at a lower budget.

Want to build a website that makes your audience go WOW? Looking to dominate your social media game? Want someone to help you build strategic email marketing campaigns?

Marketing is not a one-man game. 

Want to build a website that makes your audience go WOW? You need web design and development specialists.

Yes – you can go ahead and subscribe to a cheap website builder. But it’s pointless. Why?

Read our blog post “Hiring a Web Agency vs Using a Cheap Website Builder – Which Should You Choose?” here.

Looking to dominate your social media game? You need a social media marketer who knows their stuff. You need a graphic designer, video producer, editor, copywriter, social media ads specialist and more depending on your strategy. 

That’s a lot of people. 

Similarly, you need dedicated specialists for content marketing, SEO, paid ads, etc. You need senior-level executives who can help you build an end-to-end marketing funnel for your business.

Now, here’s the question – do you have the budget to hire these specialists? The average salary of marketing specialists is anywhere around $90,000. 

As our Creative Director mentioned earlier, “For a business to do their own digital marketing as effectively as we could, they’d need to hire all of us as individual employees. Compare the cost of employees’ salaries, benefits, taxes, etc to the cost of hiring the agency – the difference is a LOT.

By hiring a reliable and results-driven marketing agency, you can get access to these marketing experts at a comparatively lower budget – which is one of the BIG benefits of hiring a marketing agency.

You don’t have to spend even a dime on your marketing tech stack.

Let’s look at Ahrefs’ pricing.

prices comparing ahrefs service plans

Even the cheapest plan costs $99 per month. 

Here’s ConvertKit’s:

Convertkit's pricing structure

They have a free plan – but this plan is applicable for up to 300 subscribers – after which you’ll have to pay.

When it comes to marketing, you need to invest a lot in your tools. While the total costs are different for different companies. Depending on their use, you can expect to pay around $10,000 per month for marketing tools.

Also, you need to spend money on that time and energy to get your systems and processes up and running.

You can save this money by hiring a marketing agency – as they’ll have access to all the tools you’ll ever need to dominate your marketing and advertising game. 

That’s another major benefit right there.

You don’t have to stop marketing or advertising. Instead, you need to thrive.

Now’s the time to thrive.

Not all your competitors are running ads right now. Elliott Davidson from Contrast stated that “In an economic downturn with most companies pulling back their marketing budget, this presents an opportunity to go on the offensive. On average, paid media CPM and CAC will be cheaper as there will be less competition to compete against. Think through your decision to pull back. You could lose market share. There might be an opportunity to gain and come out of this recession stronger.”

Many of them have probably stopped content production.

It’s not fierce right now as it usually is. 

By stopping marketing, you’ll just be joining your competitors – who are scared to get their message out. 

Don’t do that.

By hiring a reliable marketing agency, you can save a lot of money – which you can invest in content marketing, building a customer loyalty program, revamping your website, and more. 

Like Uber, Netflix, and many other companies that thrived during a recession, I want you to thrive. Yes, the examples I have shared are of tech companies. B2B marketing is hard, and they thrived despite the fierce competition.

Local businesses can as well.

I believe in you – but to thrive, we highly recommend outsourcing all or a percentage of your marketing to a reliable marketing agency.

We’d LOVE to Work with You!

If you’re planning to hire a marketing agency after reading this blog post, I heavily recommend working with an agency that knows what they’re doing. There are gazillions of “Hey! We can help you secure #1 position on Google” all-talk no-action agencies out there.  

To help you find the best fit for you, I’ve gathered these resources:

We love working with local businesses based in Idaho. Some of our customers call us “best digital marketing agency in Idaho.” 

And we’d love to help you out.

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