How Finance Brands Should Position Their Message During an Uncertain Economy

By Chloe Dinsdale Feb 3, 2023

A common misconception in finance is that you can’t invest during an uncertain market. It’s not only incorrect, but this misconception also hurts both consumers and businesses. Economic downturns are part of the natural cycles of free-market capitalism and any savvy investor or brand providing financial goods and services knows there is money to be made, even when things look shaky.

From a consumer standpoint, being prepared for market fluctuations is Investing 101. While there’s no such thing as “recession-proof” investments, there are strategies to help limit risk and even make money during challenging markets. Experts agree that new investors should diversify their portfolio in a variety of low-risk, long-term investments like an index fund, a type of mutual or exchange-traded fund that tracks a market index such as the S&P 500 or Total Stock Market Index. Index funds are a heterogenous alternative to high-risk volatile investments and can be a stable place to grow wealth when other investments stumble.

Investing in specific industries can work, too. Sectors like healthcare and consumer staples tend to fair well during recessions. Here, consumer investors can take advantage of an overall poor outlook by investing in companies that traffic in industries like pharmaceuticals, information tech, real estate or energy. Consumer investors may also seize the benefits of tax provisions in times of economic uncertainty. Many retirement accounts — like a 401(k) or 403(b) — offer unique tax benefits. Contributions to these types of funds not only put your money to work in a low-risk investment, but the contributions are also deducted from your earnings at the year’s end tax bill.

The major hurdle that prevents consumer investing during recession is awareness, not opportunity. Financial services brands need to recontextualize an uncertain economy as an ideal time to market with a heavy educational slant. People are seeking information they can trust. Your knowledge and expertise on finances — from mortgages to investments to banking to real estate — can be stylized into engaging, educational content providing readers with inside know-how and best practices to weather — and even thrive — during turbulent economic times.

According to research by StackAdapt, typically a consumer interested in finance starts their investigation with a simple a search engine query, which drives them to websites, blogs and your branded content. Consumers will use what they find valuable in their decision process, meaning, the better your content, the more likely the consumer will take your advice. Trustworthy insight is key. Consumers use the information they find and A/B it with information they get from other online forums, customer testimonials and advice from friends and family.

Read more: Tips for Mortgage Lenders to Craft Their Marketing Strategy This Year

Using online content to inform financial decisions is an expanding trend first seen in online banking. Today, 71 percent of global consumers now use digital banking channels weekly — a 3 percent year over year increase and up from 15.1 percent just five years ago. This rise of digital banking has mirrored the growing consumer habit of seeking information online before making a purchase. This means there’s no better time than now for marketers to use digital advertising for finance campaigns. And with consumers spending time researching online, there is growing value in aligning marketing messaging with the content that consumers are investigating.

Market trends may be hard to predict. Much clearer is the connection between awareness and seizing opportunity. Investing during challenging conditions can be done, but consumers need to be informed that it’s possible and then guided toward the best choices that fit their financial goals. Native content featuring insightful analysis of today’s trends and explainers on how to handle your finances during a recession are the best way to maximize advertising strategy in 2023.

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