When a recession hits, we tend to panic. The fear and worry we face often causes us to make rash short-term decisions that could end up hurting our businesses in the long term. A common mistake is eliminating advertising altogether. Here are a few reasons it’s important to continue advertising, and some pro tips on how you can make your advertising more impactful and cost-effective during economic hard times.
First and foremost, credibility doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and momentum to get your brand to become familiar to your target audience. Research suggests a consumer needs to be exposed to your ad at least seven times in order for your brand to be considered recognizable. With steady advertising, it takes time to develop this optimal frequency. The longer your advertising campaign runs, the more momentum and frequency you build.
Once your brand has become a recognizable name, it becomes much easier to promote special incentives in a timely fashion. Customers tend to react more quickly when they are familiar with you. If you stop advertising when you are in the process of building up your frequency, you will lose all of that momentum. The sad reality is: “Out of sight, out of mind.” If customers presume you are not around anymore, they’ll look elsewhere. When you do decide to advertise again after a hiatus, unfortunately, you’ll have to start from scratch. Not only will you have to try to reach new customers, but you’ll have to inform old customers that you’re still open and hope they didn’t turn to your competition in your absence.
If you do continue with your advertising in a recession, you are more likely to take advantage of media placement upgrades and bonuses at no extra charge. As more inventory becomes available, your ad could get moved up closer to the front of a magazine or moved to a higher-rated program on TV. The media outlets want to take care of their loyal customers, and if other advertisers are cutting back, there could be inventory vacancies you could take full advantage of. If your competition cuts back on their advertising or backs out completely, you’ll gain even more exposure and market share.
Even though a recession can seem scary in the short term, remain calm, and think big picture.
Lastly, adapt your creative message to the current climate. Advertise risk-free options, waived cancellation fees or special sale pricing during times of uncertainty. Customers are unlikely to commit to anything that feels risky in trying times, so invite them to make a purchase they can be comfortable with.
Evaluate, and make adjustments accordingly. Think big picture. Let the momentum you’ve developed thus far help you survive this and thrive when the economy is back to normal.
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