In a difficult economy, advertising is one of those operations that gets cut first. It is often seen as an expense that can be dispensed with until things get better. This can be a false economy though as businesses have to take advantage of every opportunity they can to get their name and their products out there.
Studies undertaken during the last two recessions in 1974-5 and 1981-2 showed that those companies who continued to advertise during that time experienced growth at an outstanding level as the economy recovered.
There are several cases for advertising, in any kind of economy, but especially in a difficult one. Even though we are slowly coming out of recession, things are going to be difficult for a few years to come. Spending money wisely is going to be the byword of almost everyone in the country for the foreseeable future.
The first, and to my mind, best reason to continue advertising during difficult times is that your competitors won’t be. Chances are that they will cut their advertising budgets too, which is the perfect time for your company to fill the gap. This works especially well for those companies who sell non-luxury items. The public still needs to buy stuff they need. If your presence is known, they are going to buy it from you.
Advertising agencies also know that it’s the marketing budgets that get cut. Therefore they will fight tooth and nail for those clients who have money to spend. Deals can be done, discounts can be had as well as extra expertise at no cost. This might be the time to break into TV or radio advertising. When the TV stations are losing ad revenue, and agencies are offering bigger and better deals for companies.
A difficult economy can also be a talking point for the advertising. Don’t be afraid to address the difficulties directly. We all talk about the recession and being short of money. It is the ideal proposition for a product. Offering it as a solution to a problem, at a discount, or highlighting its value compared to competitors is a great way of putting yourself in the view of a more frugal consumer. Using words like “discount”, “bargain” and others will capture their attention like never before.
In smaller cities advertising is still important. There is still enough local competition to make things difficult if you don’t have a comprehensive campaign in the works. Continuing the campaigns during difficult times will set you up to reap the rewards during, but especially after the recovery. Consumers will remember your company, and the fact that you “were there for them” during that time. This can create brand loyalty of the kind that money simply can’t buy.
By being open minded, and willing to keep spending you may reap rewards larger than you ever expected.