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Commun-ad-cation | What it is and Why Your Company Needs to Embrace it

There is no playbook to navigate marketing and advertising efforts during this unprecedented period of time. As a result, you would be hard-pressed to find an organization that has all of the answers. In addition to looking to one another for ideas and inspiration, businesses must look to industry leaders who have weathered storms (albeit not of the same nature) and come out as stronger, more efficient entities.

The obvious next question is how? How does an organization move forward during times of trial? Specifically, how does an organization address their marketing efforts? Do they soldier on? If yes, then should they change their technique or approach? And if so, how?

As you discuss internally the best ways to move your business forward, allow us to share our thoughts on how to do so effectively and efficiently.


Ad Spend

How important is it to advertise during a difficult period of time? In a word, very. A theme among companies who have increased their sales and grown their market share after a difficult period of time, is that each one maintained or grew their ad spending. We understand the urge to cut back expenses during uncertain periods of time. It’s human nature and may seem as though it’s a logical measure of self-preservation.

However, here are a couple of pitfalls that will inevitably emerge with such an action:

  • Brand recognition will decrease, significantly. As the age-old adage goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In the current world, it is not a far leap to say that these individuals are more technologically connected than ever before. That means more screen time – more social media, more time within email platforms, more visits to local news sites, more times Netflix asks you “Are you still watching?”… you get the point. If your business isn’t appearing on a medium people are constantly tapping into, you’re missing an unbelievable opportunity to remain top of mind with consumers.
  • It takes roughly 6-8 touches to generate a sales lead. That’s a significant amount of activity to say the least. A multichannel marketing approach serves many purposes. However, a major one is to ensure that these 6-8 touches are happening in an efficient period of time. If you cut your ad spend, there’s a high likelihood that you will be cutting out a channel that is vital as a touchpoint. You will lengthen your sales cycle and risk losing your qualified lead to a competitor who is maintaining their current strategy or adding an ad channel to capture the consumers who are abandoning their metaphorical (or actual!) shopping cart with your company.

In recent years, companies like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Amazon have asserted themselves as powerhouses in their markets by maintaining ad spend during uncertain times and either overtaking their competition or growing their sales by astronomical proportions. New advertising dollars don’t need to be found – new approaches with your current budgets do.


Communication Spend

While the term “ad spend” is the commonly used, widely accepted term, we want to suggest thinking about ad spend as “communication spend” during this period of time.  As millions of people are taking refuge from the coronavirus, there is increased emphasis on clear, direct communication.

Like us in recent days, I’m sure you’ve received an unprecedented number of emails from companies you once upon a time subscribed to. These messages consist of a myriad of topics including hours of operations updates, information on the measures taken to ensure cleanliness or promotions the company is currently running. This approach is a more than viable take on marketing at this point in time. Most businesses are shying away from their holly jolly approach to engaging customers. This doesn’t mean they have stopped advertising.

Like the companies you are receiving email updates from, consider revamping your marketing messages to reflect the changes in your business and the changes in our world. As you relay critical company information, it is extremely important to carefully consider what information you share, the fashion in which you communicate it and the frequency at which it reaches your audience.  And not only that, but place an emphasis on communicating with empathy and connecting with people’s emotions. Empathy is one of two emotive responses to an ad that aids in the success of a campaign.


“Commun-ad-cation” Spend

The moral of the story is to continue on with your multichannel marketing and advertising approach and communicate in a way that resonates with your consumer at this point in time. Know who your ideal consumer is and reinvent your marketing strategy, if necessary, to truly engage your audience. Scaling back marketing efforts and “going dark” during these uncertain times won’t earn you any brownie points with your audience and will make the storm much more difficult to weather.

Having been in business for more than 160 years, The Times Union is confident in its ability to manage business internally, but also to provide expert level help to businesses as a trusted advertising partner. Need help with your company’s commun-ad-cation? Through our parent company, Hearst, and our four other sister agencies around the United States, we offer the individual attention of a startup with the resources of a large corporation. If you have any questions about the Times Union Media Group or the Hearst Digital Agency and what we do, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.