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Blogs

Navigating Your Marketing Strategy in a Crisis

Blogs

By Amy DesLauriers
Associate Product Manager

Read time: 4 minutes 

Market fluctuations, changing work conditions and evolving business needs – we’re all experiencing unprecedented business circumstances. No matter what industry you’re in, change is upon us, and business owners and marketing managers alike are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising tactics. There is a constant struggle of wanting to promote your business, yet remain sensitive to the climate at the same time.

While it might seem easiest to hit the panic button and pull away from all your advertising strategies, the sudden absence of your brand in the marketplace can add to the instability and hurt your bottom line. The key is to step back, take a breath, remember your audience and make adjustments that match their needs.

History Is on Advertising’s Side

While none of us have been in this situation before, historic market downturns that caused long-term recessions have had an effect on business advertising in the past.

In a commonly quoted study, McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 companies covering 16 different standard industrial classification (SIC) industries from 1980 to 1985. The results showed that when B2B firms maintained or increased advertising efforts during the 1981-82 recession, they averaged significantly higher sales growth during that year – and for the next three years afterward – compared to those that eliminated or decreased their advertising.1

Similarly, in the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell maintained their advertising and promotion budget, while McDonald’s dropped theirs. The result? Pizza Hut and Taco Bell sales grew by 61% and 40%, respectively, while McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.2

More recently, Amazon grew its sales by 28% in 2009 – right in the midst of the “great recession.” They accomplished this by taking the opportunity to introduce their then-new product, the Amazon Kindle. It was marketed as a lower-cost alternative to frequently purchasing new hardcopies – and it worked. That Christmas, more Amazon customers bought e-books than printed books.2

The numbers continue to support the same trend: When business is slow, advertising shouldn’t be the first budget on the chopping block. But it can be a time to adjust your ad messaging and targeting tactics.

Adjusting Ad Messaging and Targeting

First things first: Reach out to your Midco advertising account executive for help – you’re not in this alone. Together, you can fully assess your current ad messaging and also talk through:

  • What campaigns are you running?
  • Which channel will have the best performance right now?

Next, remember your target audience. Put yourself in their shoes.

  • What will they want to hear from you right now?
  • Which media and platforms are they using?
  • And, most importantly, what can you do to support them?

Now, you’re ready to consider strategy shifts. Let’s start with what to say.

What to Say in Your Ads

In a time of economic downturn and uncertainty, people will likely be looking for a good deal – and a good company to help them during this time. Consider promoting your partnership with a food delivery service or incentivizing with short-term pricing offers – depending on what fits your audience’s needs. If you don’t have something in place already, consider what you can do to implement a convenience-based incentive to provide value and make your business stand out.

Speaking of standing out, take note of the messaging that you’ve been receiving in your inbox and newsfeeds lately. Much of the messaging seems to be playing on repeat – and you should focus on finding a creative way to tailor yours. Remember, focus on your audience, what they want to hear – and what value you can provide them.

Need new ad creative?

No problem. 

Midco Creative Services

Where to Find Your Audience

Last, where is your audience paying attention?

Your target audience is likely adjusting viewing and browsing habits as daily routines change. You should adjust your media mix to match. For example, with more people staying at home, it’s a natural time to slim down your billboard and print ad budget to increase digital ad and connected TV ad campaigns.

Another consideration – your audience might be watching and browsing differently now. Without live sports on TV, you might be wondering what people are watching. The answer? They’re still watching sports – and they’re watching more of everything else, according to recent research.

  • Nielsen reported that normally heavy sports viewers are still spending 10% of their TV viewing time watching vintage games and shows like SportsCenter on Sundays.
  • That same group’s overall TV watching habits has actually increased by 10% since March 11, when many leagues suspended play.3

If you’re a business that typically targets people watching sports programming – or even searching for sports online – talk to your consultant about where those eyeballs might be instead. There’s a definite shift in consumption. In fact, 95% of consumers say they’re spending more time on in-home media consumption, while two out of three consumers report spending more time watching news coverage right now.4 

Locally, we're seeing more than a 125% increase in cable news net rating year over year.5 With intelligent, interest-based targeting, there are ways to reach people where they are now, compared to where they used to be.

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About Midco Advertising

About Amy DesLauriers

Amy DesLauriersAs an Associate Product Manager at Midco, Amy DesLauriers keeps a pulse on industry advertising trends - finding ways for our team to be increasingly innovative and competitive. Prior to Midco, she worked as a director of media strategy for eight years at a Sioux Falls-based agency. She holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Minnesota State University-Mankato, and a Master of Business Administration from University of South Dakota.

About Amy DesLauriers

Amy DesLauriersAs an Associate Product Manager at Midco, Amy DesLauriers keeps a pulse on industry advertising trends - finding ways for our team to be increasingly innovative and competitive. Prior to Midco, she worked as a director of media strategy for eight years at a Sioux Falls-based agency. She holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Minnesota State University-Mankato, and a Master of Business Administration from University of South Dakota.

1 OCreative Design: When Times Are Good You Should Advertise, When Times Are Bad You Must Advertise
2 Forbes: When A Recession Comes Don’t Stop Advertising, Q32019
3 Broadcasting+Cable: With Games Canceled Heavy Sports Viewers View More TV, Q22020
4 Global Web Index, ComScore
5 Viewership information provided by TiVo.Households (HHs): Number of unique households with a view of at least one minute of the telecast, series, station(s) or network(s) during the selected time frame. Live viewing only. Number is estimated across all of Midco basic cable subscribers based on results from the data subset. Data subset includes approximately 35% of our cable subscribers across all of our markets, excluding Minnesota and Kansas. Rating: The percentage of actual viewership time in relation to the maximum potential viewership time. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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