"Be greedy when others are fearful"
Warren Buffett's famous quote about (economic) downturns in stock markets
A similar principle applies in marketing. In difficult times like today, marketing costs are the first to be hit. Since marketing often does not produce a quick upturn in sales, it is easy to justify the reduction of these costs. At the same time, those who are in long-term business and have certain cash reserves, should not panic or cut costs. Like the stock markets, you need to buy, not sell at the bottom of the market.
Why it is still worth investing in marketing during recession
In the USA, since the Great Depression of the 1920s, this matter has been studied and the same conclusion has been reached with every crisis.
The Harvard Business Review already wrote after the great crisis of the 1920s that those companies that did not stop advertising were able to emerge from the crisis with a significantly larger market share. Those companies which in 1981–1982 did not reduce advertising activities during the economic crisis of 1985 had managed to increase their turnover by 275% by 1985.
2008-2009 The well-known British marketing researcher Peter Field delivered an in-depth study of the 2010 crisis. He compared three groups:
1) those who changed their marketing efforts (SOV) less than their market share during the crisis, 2) those whose SOV and market share were equal, and 3) those whose SOV was significantly greater than their market share.
The study found that those who actively marketed during the crisis were able to grow four to five times more after the crisis than those who scaled back their marketing efforts during economic downturn.
Reducing marketing efforts during an economic crisis pays off (painfully) when the crisis is over
Source: "Peter Field: Brands have to invest despite the crisis, otherwise they will go weak", ScreenVoice (28.05.2020); https://www.screenvoice.cz/en/news/peter-field-brands-have-to-invest-despite-the-crisis-otherwise-they-will-go-weak-2/.