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Your Playbook for Staffing Success (part 8): What Winners Do Differently in a Recession

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Staffing agencies that thrive in any economy do things differently.

During an economic downturn, here are three more moves your firm can make to come out a winner:

Winners avoid big mistakes.

Don’t fall victim to these traps:

  • Stay calm and rational, even if the world around you isn’t.
  • Only focusing on cutting costs​. Strike a progressive balance between reigning in expenses and spending wisely.
  • Cutting marketing. While it may be tempting to reduce or eliminate marketing right now, remember this: in a customer’s mind, out of sight = out of business.
  • Slashing prices​. If you cut prices, you devalue your services – and make it harder to recover.
  • Doing nothing. Don’t just hunker down and wait for things to get better. Plan what you will do now, to ensure things will get better sooner.
  • Jumping into a “hot” new market or industry. Unless you have, hire or acquire (via M&A) the right expertise, you’ll waste a ton of money and likely be crushed by competitors.

Winners build a smart marketing strategy.

Regardless of your size, specialization or geographic footprint, a smart marketing strategy will support your success in any economy:

  • Segment your clients​. Use demographic and psychographics to clearly define you audiences and deliver the right message to each.
  • Improve sales efficiency​. Use integrated direct marketing to support your sales team’s efforts when they can’t visit in person.
  • Stay top-of-mind. Use email, PPC, social media and video to stay highly visible and signal your firm’s strength.
  • Bundle services. Create incentives for employers to buy NOW.​
  • Skill market. Find homes for top talent​ to generate more placements.
  • Become a resource to your clients. Use content marketing to help employers solve their problems, position yourself as an expert, and drive inbound leads.

Winners pivot their marketing strategy in a recession.

Focus your marketing efforts and resources in the right direction during this downturn:

  • Broaden your client base​. Get as many new clients on board as you can, even if they’re “little fish.”
  • Find new services to provide to current clients​. Keep clients out of competitors’ clutches by talking to them, helping them plan and brainstorming creative solutions to their biggest challenges.
  • Automate to improve the client / candidate experience​. Consider what more you could to make working with your firm easier, faster, more convenient and yes, fun.
  • Look for new business models. Evaluate online staffing options or other new ways you could deliver services to your clients, especially as social distancing continues.
  • Go deeper with your clients to help them plan ahead. Get on the phone or meet virtually to forecast their needs over the next 30, 60 and 90 days. This downturn won’t last forever, and you should be the one they turn to when growth kicks back in.

Not thrilled about a recession? Choose not to participate!


  • Getting more aggressive and creative with sales, marketing and pricing
  • Relentlessly nurturing relationships​ with current customers
  • Focusing on services that add the most value​ for customers
  • Investing in training and product development to crush the competition

…you can come out the other side stronger, more resilient and even more profitable.

How can we help? Let’s create a winning marketing strategy for your firm. We’re just a click or call away.

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