While some businesses are starting to see signs of an improved economy, many more still continue to feel the effects of the recent recession. It’s going to be a while before the market feels fully recovered.
You may have heard that you shouldn’t pull back on your advertising when the market is soft and sales are slow. But let’s be frank: when cash flow is tight, that’s the first thing you might want to do. But while pulling back on advertising produces a short-term gain for cash flow, it can easily create a long-term problem for your brand and the life of your business.
Why keep advertising when the economy is still sputtering? Here are 8 easy reasons.
- Because you’re open. Simply put, if you’re open for business, you need to market your business. If you stop, customers can easily forget about you or even assume you’re no longer around. If you’re not visible, you may not be considered as a choice when your customers are buying.
- Because bad times = good opportunities. In a slow economy, some of your competitors will likely pull back on their marketing, downsize, or even go out of business. When the pie becomes smaller, your slice becomes comparatively bigger, and your odds of securing new customers greater. Did a competitor’s retreat from the market leave an attractive client in need of services you provide? Find out.
- Because repetition works. It’s often said that consumers don’t fully recall brands until they’ve seen them 6 or 7 times. Without realizing it, people tend to drift over ads that are less familiar and linger on ads they recognize—so don’t advertise once or twice and expect to see direct results. Even unsightly ads and irritating jingles get locked into peoples’ brains if they’re repeated often enough, and the recall they produce converts into sales down the line. Start the funnel now, so that even if your customers aren’t buying today, you’ll be in their minds for when they are. Repetition pays off.
- Because confidence matters. Advertising, particularly in a well-regarded medium, indicates confidence in your business. Your visibility in the marketplace lends credibility to your organization and makes people feel secure about doing business with you. Customers want to do business with winners, so it’s important not to let your insecurity show.
- Because you’re good under the hood. Consumers tend to research their purchases more during difficult economic times. They’ll pay more attention to advertising and take the time to read the small print. Don’t be left out of consideration; instead, make more of an effort to let them know you’re a safe bet.
- Because tough times make tough customers. The economy may be slowly recovering, but until the outlook is rosy, many consumers will pull back on their wants and focus more on their needs. Can you convince your audience that your particular product or service is something they truly need? Consider your messaging and see if you can hone in on a vital benefit of your offerings. Can you offer long-term benefits or short-term gain? Either of these could make the case for buying now. And even in a recession, people still buy gifts and reward themselves occasionally for working harder. Can you capitalize on this?
- Because customers love to jump on a deal. If you’ve shied away from offering discounts and sales incentives in the past, a slow economy may be a good time to test the waters on this tactic. The quick rise of discount voucher sites such as JumpOnIt and Living Social is testament to the fact that people love a good bargain—and love to tell others about them, too. The added urgency of these deals creates a quick blaze of excitement for your business. Will this tactic diminish your brand value? As long as your brand is strong, there’s a good chance that your customers won’t question your quality because you’re offering a one-time discount; instead they’ll feel good that they’re getting a “steal” on something they love.
- Because you have more advertising choice than ever. If cash flow is a problem, you may need to be more creative and take advantage of the growing multitude of advertising choices to keep your business visible. If you need to pull back on expensive media, replace it with less-expensive alternatives. You might find that moving outside your core media—your “comfort zone”—presents new opportunities and attracts new audiences. Social media, email marketing, bus advertising, and grassroots marketing tactics are ways in which our clients have found ways to keep advertising… and keep their businesses moving forward.