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How Much Should My Business Spend On Marketing and Advertising During A Recession?

Warning signals are flashing that a recession may be on the way. If so, it would be a quick end to a short period of post-COVID recovery. It’s important for Central Florida business owners to consider what the future might hold. Before you know it, it may be time to make some tough decisions.

Many leaders may find themselves facing down significant cuts to their operations.

When it’s time to trim back, marketing and advertising can seem like obvious picks. In today’s world of digital advertising, it’s often easy to see precisely what value your ads deliver. But if you use traditional media placements as part of your advertising strategy, the return on your investment can be unclear.

Likewise with marketing. Marketing campaigns operate on a long-term basis. Unless they’re set up from the start for measurable value, you can end up wondering whether you’re moving toward your goals or not. Most Central Florida small businesses can’t afford to invest money on a hunch or a good feeling.

But not all is as it seems when it comes to marketing or advertising.

To Make the Right Call on Marketing and Advertising, Think Beyond the Recession

Over many successful years as a Central Florida marketing agency, we’ve seen one theme repeated over and over again: Businesses that continue to invest in marketing through a downturn are best positioned to benefit when the economy begins to recover.

On the other hand, those who choose to play defensively throughout a recession fail to plant the seeds for their future growth. When the recession ends, they need to build infrastructure from the ground up. That takes months and leaves them non-competitive in the meantime.

The people you market to today are your customers three, six, and twelve months from now. Even if they, too, are feeling the pinch of a recession, there’s an undeniable benefit from being the brand of choice to meet their needs. Marketing makes that happen by keeping you top of mind.

That said, there is no “one size fits all” solution. The best approach depends on where you stand right now, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals. Overall, there are three approaches you can take with marketing and advertising during a recession:

1. Continue Your Marketing and Advertising Investments

If you are confident that your marketing and advertising initiatives are delivering, keep them up.

It may be necessary to make cuts somewhere in your business, but marketing and advertising aren’t the “low-hanging fruit” they might first appear to be. Again, it’s marketing that gives you the chance to influence a consumer’s mindset and decisions, perhaps many months down the line.

If you lower the curtain on your marketing during a recession, you are ceding the conversation to a rival who stays the course. And it is much more difficult to get a potential customer to switch brands after many positive experiences than it would be to meet them early on.

2. Make Targeted Cuts Based on What’s Not Working

It’s crucial not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but many Central Florida businesses can save money by making the right cuts to their marketing or advertising. Advertising tends to grow more costly every year, so it is the first place you should look to make sure your money is working for you.

If you use digital advertising on Google, Facebook, or other websites, the included analytics software will give you insight into whether those ads are motivating users to act. If not, they can be revised or retired – online ads work best when they lead to email subscriptions or sales, not brand awareness alone.

If you are using marketing, there are many low-cost opportunities in areas like blog writing and search engine optimization that have the potential to supercharge your visibility. It’s critical to choose a small handful of techniques you can stick to for the long haul and practice them consistently.

3. Pivot to an Outsourced Marketing Partnership

While no one can promise marketing results overnight, a Central Florida marketing agency is both the fastest and most cost-effective way to reach your goals.

Hiring a marketing agency gives you world-class expertise at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team: About $3,000 per month compared to more than $7,000 to employ a single marketing director.

You can get started immediately, not months from now after a protracted hiring process. Plus, once you’re on board, your marketing agency must prove its value every single month without fail.

Contact us to learn more or get started today.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.