When times are tough, as they have been during the coronavirus situation, money can get tight, and cutting items from the budget comes up for discussion. Here’s our take on it: Don’t cut your advertising! Check out this statistic:
“A study of the 2007-2009 recession using data gathered from 200 brands found that brands who eliminated ad spending took nearly five years to recover, while brands who maintained or increased ad spend rebounded much faster and, in some cases, grew their revenue” (sourcelink.com). According to Harvard Business Review, the reason is that organizations that maintained their ad spending “captured market share” from those who didn’t.
Let’s look at an example from history. The brand Post was the leader for cereal until the Great Depression, when it scaled back its advertising budget. That’s when Kellogg’s increased advertising spend and introduced Rice Krispies®. The result? Kellogg’s profits increased by 30 percent, and it became the new leader for decades (forbes.com).
When the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, was asked about a recession, he said, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”
So, when times are tough, it’s time to adjust. Reassess your marketing. Be sensitive to the current culture and choose your wording well. But don’t disappear from the marketing landscape. As we climb back from a pandemic, people need to know you’re there, now more than ever: “American consumers will seek out emotional connections to the brands and businesses they engage with during this difficult time. Now is the time to be there for them” (sourcelink.com).
Here are some ways to “be there”:
- Communicate what your school will do to ensure safety and include the expectations for teachers, students and visitors.
- Offer peace of mind by providing examples of how families can continue to have their needs met.
- Include a personal story. People appreciate reading firsthand descriptions of what’s happening behind the scenes.
- Remember that, sometimes, simply a sincere message of encouragement goes a long way.
- Reassess your target audience. Did your audience change? Do they need something different? What are you doing to accommodate that?
Now, how do you communicate all this?
- Direct mail: A postcard – or, better yet, a personalized letter from someone at your school – goes a long way. With many people on their computers more often than ever, while working or doing school at home and banking online and even ordering groceries, a message they can hold, instead of just see on a screen, is significant.
- Digital follow-up: Be sure to continue your electronic communications, since your recipients are likely to be checking their email regularly. Using both print and digital messaging creates a powerful one-two punch that ensures your message is noticed. An email reminder about an upcoming event, a rescheduled or postposed appointment, or just to say that you’ve missed seeing students in person can be reassuring.
- Quality signage: What message will greet those who come to your doors? Will it be Sharpie® on poster board? Or will it be a well-worded, creatively designed, quality sign? Show your commitment to visitors by investing in helpful, attractive signs that indicate any new hours, safety measures or processes for visits.
- Social media: Show viewers how safe your facility is. A video on YouTube or Facebook can communicate the level of cleaning you complete for safety. You can also showcase how you ensure social distancing.
We at image.works are here for you. During economic upturns and when things go the other way for a while, our commitment to timely, creative, get-results marketing is unwavering. Talk to an account representative today to discuss what we can accomplish together, now and in the future.