Recession Readiness Insights

Optimizing Your Marketing Strategy in an Uncertain Economy

Optimizing Your Marketing Strategy in an Uncertain Economy

May 12, 2023 | Katherine Doe


The financial industry has cut back on marketing spend due to economic uncertainty, but experts say there are opportunities for organizations that optimize their marketing strategy.

Andrew Davidson, Chief Insights Officer at Mintel Compremedia, said marketing spend was down 29% in the first quarter of this year across financial services. That includes traditional and digital marketing channels.

“The bulk of marketing spend is on the sub industries of credit cards and mortgages and loans. Both were down, but mortgages and loans were effectively in free fall. They're down a staggering 46% from last year,” Davidson said, during our Market Pulse podcast. He added that there was positive activity on the deposit side.

Despite the shift in overall marketing of financial products, Davidson maintains there are opportunities in a downturn. As some companies and brands cut back, there are opportunities to step forward into that gap if you have the right risk profile and target.

What insights do you have on credit card marketing when it comes to driving new accounts?

Davidson: According to our data, 22% of consumers say that inflation has caused them to use their credit cards more. Outstanding credit card debt is on track to surpass a trillion dollars. So, it's clear that usage and reliance on credit cards is up. And that's at a time when we're seeing interest rates on credit cards at a record high. 

However, I do think there's still plenty of opportunity to acquire new customers. Obviously, delinquencies are on the rise. And there are signs of a more cautious approach. You know, I've mentioned already the pullback in marketing. Another example is that in Q1 of this year, while there was this broader pullback in marketing, the biggest cutbacks were in the non-rewards segments. So those credit card offers are trying to target revolvers. 

And that's something that we saw back in the recession of 2008, 2009, that sort of flight to safety. So, things like teaser rate offers start to evolve, for example. Teaser rates were very much the marketing story for credit cards in 2022. They were coming through very strongly, even though there was continued discussion around recession. But we've seen something of a pullback there, even though there are still plenty of offers on the market right now with an intro APR of 21 months. 

So, we’re seeing some shifts in the dynamics, really. And of course, credit card interest rates are still at record highs. So, there are opportunities for issuers and credit unions to compete on rates in this current environment. You know, I think if you flip, though, onto the reward side, I think it's about finding new ways to find efficiencies, to add value. For example, in the co-brand space we saw a slow start to the year in terms of new card launches, but since then it's really kicked up a notch and we're seeing new types of partnerships. You know, so the likes of AMC Theaters with the FinTech Deserve or Simon Malls with the FinTech Cardless. These are all examples of new types of partnerships that are emerging in the current environment. So, as I say, it goes back to hunting these pockets of opportunities. 

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For more on this interview, listen to the full episode, Optimizing Your Marketing Strategy in an Uncertain Economy. The Market Pulse podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts. This episode was a continuation of our conversation of the March Market Pulse webinar. Access it on-demand and sign up for our next webinar.


Katherine Doe

Katherine Doe

Director of Product Marketing, Risk Solutions

Katherine joined Equifax in 2016 and has worked in several marketing roles across our Workforce Solutions and US Information Solutions divisions. When not working on product marketing by day, Katherine enjoys beach days, visting new restaurants, and leisurely South of Broad walks with her dogs in Charleston, SC.