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Hyper-Local Marketing in a Recession

Hyper-Local Marketing In A Recession
It has now been over 6 months since the word COVID-19 came into our lives and disrupted pretty much every part of it - our homes, our children’s schools and of course our businesses.

Many of the plans that were already in place simply needed to be adapted, rescheduled, or cancelled altogether. Inconvenient for sure, but not too difficult for many as those were the only real options available.

Whilst it does seem that the disruption has started to calm down, and know that there is an element of normality creeping back to our lives, there does still seem to be a lot of concern and uncertainty about things to come.

For those whose families have been fortunate not to be directly affected by the virus itself, the disruption has been inconvenient, to say the least. But for the majority of us, up to now, it has been mostly manageable, and we’ve been able to carry on our lives at home and work, albeit at a reduced frequency or tempo.

Will there be a second wave of local lockdown with further restrictions?
Will the kids go back to school, and stay at school, from September?
Will I ever be able to work normally again?

These are all very relevant and important questions to be considered, and if at all possible, they need to be answered when planning the marketing for the next chapter of our businesses, but where does a local business owner start?

So, now that the major disruption is hopefully behind us, how does a business put together a plan to market their services when the economic future is still unclear?

In order to plan your marketing activity during these uncertain times, it will help to understand what happens in a recession and what role marketing has for your business during one.

What actually happens in a downturn or recession?

In the simplest of forms, the characteristics of a recession can be split into three stages –

Stage 1, The initial downturn and pause in work, this is when most businesses take stock of what is happening around them and in their sector.

Stage 2, Once disruption has been managed and the new levels of working are understood, it is time to start planning for recovery and moving ahead.

Stage 3, Business volume and activity is starting to resume, and the time is right to think about returning to normal or to catch up on lost ground.

When viewed chronologically, these form a U or V, hence why a recession is sometimes referred to as a “U-shaped” or “V-shaped” (as well as a few others).

What roles do marketing and advertising serve during a downturn or recession?

Your marketing activity and it’s messaging is best suited to the actual stage your business is currently situated, as each stage will require a different message.

Now you have a better understanding of marketing your business in recession, what do you need to think about next?

Stage 1
In Stage 1, the aim of your marketing is to soften the initial downfall and keep customers informed.

Keep your messaging calm and communicate to your customers that you are operational, that you’re available to take questions and that you open for new business (if you can open). If you’re offering a slightly different or new service entirely, explain what you are doing and how you’ve adapted. Use this stage as an opportunity to address any concerns your client base has or may have in the future.


Lloyds Bank were very clever and partnered with Mental Health UK to create a campaign that explored the worries and emotions being felt by many self-isolating.

By partnering with Mental Health UK, Lloyds Bank were able to offer support and advice for those that needed it, whilst enforcing their own branding and that the fact they are reliable and supportive (and “by your side”) during a crisis.

Stage 2
The purpose of marketing in Stage 2 is to shorten the slowdown and position your business to respond.

Nobody really knows how long the low point of a recession will last; however, you want your business to be “top of mind” as soon as there is an upturn and confidence returns.

Let customers know of any changes that you’ve had to make, and in the case of coronavirus, reassure them by explaining any new social distancing restrictions that are now in place or how your own working practice has adapted to eliminate any risks of transferring contamination.

By communicating with your audience during stages 1 and 2, you will build reassurance throughout and cultivate confidence in your business, demonstrating that it is strong, resilient and can be trusted when your services are next needed.


For many the thought of a holiday this year seems millennia away. However, you may have noticed that there is currently a lot of activity around holiday and travel marketing.

Many businesses within the sector positioning their marketing to reassure the audience (whilst in stage 2) that their business is very safe with the aim of being “top of mind” when we finally look to book our next trip away.

Stage 3
Stage 3, time to play catch up and grow.

Now that you’ve put in the hard work during stages 1 and 2, with positive signs of an upturn in the economy, your business will be well-positioned allowing you to react quickly at the start of the economic recovery.

During stage 3 your marketing can be aimed at securing new business and closing some deals. Stage 3 is the time to invest in your business and spend as much as your business can afford to promote any offers you can run to attract new customers.

Be mindful of any changes in consumer behaviour when customers are looking to book your services, then tweak your marketing to address any reoccurring concerns or requests


Companies that continued to market themselves and advertise their services during the recession of 2008 were well positioned to take advantage of the upturn in 2009.

Amazon sales grew by 28% in 2009 after a period of continued marketing and innovation throughout the slowdown in 2008.

We are here to help…

The next few months may be a period when local businesses are challenged to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and everchanging restrictions enforced upon them.

How will you market your business during the recession?

RH Uncovered is perfectly positioned to guide any local business with advertising and marketing to local communities over the months to come. We’ve been publishing since 2006 and have worked hundreds of local businesses every single month since then.

Unsure what marketing your business needs?

Improvements in web design and digital software have made many marketing activities accessible to the smallest business and it is now possible to track many parts of the campaigns you are running.  However, understanding where you should be putting your attention can be both confusing and daunting.

We are offering a FREE local marketing review for any local business that is unsure what marketing they need or what steps they need to take next during the recession?

To book your FREE marketing review, simply complete the short form on the following page and we’ll schedule in a suitable time to talk to you about your business and your marketing needs.

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