There are seven best practices for how advertisers can proceed:
Focus on, and keep in touch with, the customer, a brand’s biggest asset. Millward Brown advises that service providers ensure “marketing activities are focused correctly on your most valuable, loyal, and satisfied customers. Keep them happy and reward their loyalty. If you contact with customers through monthly billing statements (one piece of mail you can count on people to open), use that vehicle to deliver special offers, relevant news and information.”
- Ensure share of voice exceeds share of market. According to Millward Brown, during times of economic uncertainty, keeping a high share of voice is effective. In “Marketing During Recession: To Spend or Not to Spend,” they state, “If you increase your marketing investment at a time when competitors are reducing theirs, you should substantially increase the saliency of your brand. This could help you establish an advantage that could be maintained for many years.”
- Continue to advertise: According to WARC/Millward Brown, it can take up to 5 years for brands to recover from “going dark.” According to a Nielsen ROI study commissioned by Westwood One for a retailer, among those not exposed to AM/FM radio ads, the retailer saw decreases in the number of buying occasions (-13%), spend per trip (-15%), spend per buyer (-27%), number of buyers (-30%), market share (-42%), and total spend (-50%).
- Optimize creative by testing ads for more memorable brand effects. According to a Nielsen Catalina Solutions study of nearly 500 TV, digital, and audio campaigns, creative is the number one sales driver. Combined, creative and reach represent 69% of total sales lift.
- Shift more resources to brand building versus sales activation. During an economic recession, brands need to look at their long-term sales strategies, as short-term sales spikes won’t ensure brand longevity. Focus instead on developing a deeper relationship with consumers through branding campaigns that will take root and make a lasting impact.
- Place a greater emphasis on emotional campaigns to build your brand more strongly. Across all metrics, Binet and Field find emotional campaigns result in very large effects among consumers, far outweighing the impact of rational campaigns.
- Shift budget to AM/FM radio to grow reach even if total budgets are reduced. In a recession, overall budgets tend to be reduced. However, even with a lower spend, AM/FM radio’s impact on a TV campaign is significant. By using an optimized plan of reallocated dollars, advertisers can utilize AM/FM radio’s power as a mass reach medium to make up for losses elsewhere.