The global financial crisis and the burst of the U.S. housing bubble signaled the beginning of the Great Recession, which spanned from 2007 to 2009 and heralded the end for many small businesses. And while it is still just speculation that another recession may be looming around the corner, as an agency, you should always be prepared for its possibility. That means mapping out ways to ensure your business survives an economic downturn and staying a step ahead just in case a recession happens sooner rather than later.

Strategies for Recession-Proofing Your Agency

The better you plan, the better protected your agency will be, regardless of the economic outlook. With that in mind, here are some strategies to help you make sure your agency is as recession-proof as possible.

Keep On Marketing

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. And for you and your clients, it’s important to keep up with all of your marketing activities and channels, so you’re in a good position to weather a financial storm.

Most businesses pay less attention to marketing during an economic downturn. Gain a competitive edge ahead of (and during) a recession by doing the opposite, keeping your marketing efforts going strong and maintaining those ties with your audience.

Similarly, advertising costs get lower as economic insecurity rises since businesses cut back on ad spending. Leave room in the budget to take advantage of low advertising competition and snag some high-value ads at a lower price than you’d get them otherwise.

Budget Trims and Lean Teams

Instead of laying off team members or cutting down on the number of people in your agency, take an overall assessment of your agency and its operations and look for other ways to streamline costs. Are there any of your processes that you can cut out without any negative impact on the agency’s operations? Then that’s where you’ll want to start.

For example, do you offer incentives to your top-performing team members? Instead of immediate incentives, make a promise and add a time frame to it, giving your business enough time to wade through tough times without having to worry about incentive-related expenses. And if you work with freelancers, offer a retainer package instead of paying per project to reduce expenses incurred by your agency. You should also take inventory of all tools and applications you use and see which ones you can do without.

The goal: make small but impactful changes, and you’ll leave more wiggle room for your agency to stay afloat through a downturn.

Focus on Sales

Sales are what keeps new clients coming in. Invest in skilling up your employees, and train them on sales and closing techniques. And while you’re at it, pay a lot of attention to your current clients with customer retention strategies that aim to keep existing clients satisfied.

Existing clients can also help bring in new clients through referrals. Politely ask for referrals after the successful completion of projects. You can also ask for testimonials and use this as social proof for your marketing campaigns.

Why Hire a Marketing Agency?

Faced with economic uncertainty, some of your clients may consider looking for an in-house marketer instead of a marketing agency. Below are convincing reasons why working with you is better, especially during a downturn.

Expertise and Creativity

Agencies work with multiple brands and juggle a lot of creative needs and marketing directions. This makes them pros at innovation and ensures they always have lots of brilliant ideas for standing out from the pack.

Diverse Marketing

Whether it’s digital marketing, social media marketing, print ads, or pay-per-click ads, marketing agencies have the skills to bring ads to life while working on a tight budget and focusing on long-term goals.

Up-to-Date Skills

A marketing agency provides businesses with access to experts who are well-informed about the latest marketing trends, skills, and strategies – all of which get applied to marketing projects. In-house marketers may struggle to keep up, especially if they’re taking on other roles too.


In-house marketers are expensive, requiring a yearly salary and a large investment in training. Agencies, on the other hand, offer predictable pricing and ensure businesses don’t end up paying any more than they need to.

Preparing for unforeseen circumstances as an agency does not make you a pessimist. Instead, it makes you a proactive small business owner who is toughening your business up for a potentially bumpy road. Follow the tips above to start recession-proofing, and make sure you’re ready for whatever might be ahead.

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by Benchmark Team