Marketing in Tough Economic Times


(By Charlie Sislen) In our lifetimes, it has never been harder to get advertisers to spend on marketing and advertising. My last column spoke about how advertisers need to tailor their message in today’s environment.

Before one can craft the proper message, it is important to make sure potential advertisers understand why they should market in an economic downturn. There are four primary reasons to advertise in an economic downturn.

Increase Share of Ear: In good economic times, people’s ears, eyes, and brain are saturated with advertisers’ messages. Breaking through the clutter is difficult. As others decrease or eliminate their advertising budgets, there is less clutter and an advertiser’s message will have a better chance to break through. That makes it more impactful.

Reflect Corporate Stability: Advertising through an economic downturn tells the consumer that you are stable and prepared for the future. People want to buy from someone who is planning to be there in the future. The only reason they will buy from a company that is not planning on being there in the future is a greatly reduced price. No one has ever paid a premium in a going-out-of-business sale.

Great Value: Advertising, like most products, is priced based on supply and demand. As demand has diminished, great value for quality advertising can be achieved. While suppliers of advertising always want to charge a premium, we need to recognize the reality of the environment when it comes to pricing. This does not mean dropping to an unprofitable level, but a sales rep needs to be cognizant of what others are charging. They still need to represent their outlet as effective and a great value.

Prepare for Recovery: As the economy starts its recovery, those who stopped advertising will need to invest a large amount, at higher advertising rates, just to reintroduce their brand. Those who maintained their advertising expenditures, and therefore their brand, do not need to make this significant investment just to break even. The key is maintaining the brand to potential consumers.

Every sales rep should have these four points in their head to overcome objections and be able to explain them to potential clients.

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.


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