In a recession, customers need extra motivation to make a purchase decision.
Street smart startup leaders achieve that something extra by finding what product message gets the ideal customer to exclaim "Wow!"
This is about stimulating emotions. That is something left brained engineers are short of. If you or your CEO are classical techies, you are strongly advised to find a right brained marketing mind ASAP. They have what you don't, what you need most to get out of the hole filled with dull "better" products.
Emotions move a customer from "Maybe" to "Gotta have it!"
Lists of features do not stir emotions.
Comparison sheets of you versus three competitors put customers to sleep.
Boring is your enemy. Exciting is your friend (if you have it in your message).
During a recession the magnitude of the "switching cost" is amplified. Market research studies show it takes at least a 25% reduction in the switching cost to get a potential customer motivated enough to consider purchasing your offering. In a recession that moves up to at least 33%.
So you have to offer enough extra value so the benefits of your product are at least a third greater in the mind of the customer. Those benefits can be hard cash savings, but are more often psychological benefits such as greater user experience or a sense of superior safety. The latter two are deeply part of the emotions of the customer.
The response you want is "Wow!" when the customer reads your message about your offering. That message contains what is called your "value proposition" and "compelling reason to buy."
If you are missing the "Wow!" in your product, immediately start talking to potential customers. Especially listen to why candidates said "No, thank you" to your message. Modify your message accordingly and try again and again. Keep proceeding until you figure out what was missing.
When you "get it" you will be excited and so will your customers.
Here is a good example to think about: This week I watched Jeff Bezos tell television interviewers "And we added GPS to Kindle. That let a reader get a book in sixty seconds. That is a transforming experience." He did a live demonstration and the interviewers exclaimed simultaneously "Wow!"
BOTTOM LINE: During a recession, the bar is higher to get a potential customer to reach for their wallet. Your message must contain something that triggers so much emotion that the potential customer immediately exclaims "Wow!" You find that missing something by talking to a lot of candidates until you figure it out. When you do, you'll add the most powerful element needed during a recession to convert your hard work into an unfair competitive advantage.