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Support Arrives in Time for the Holiday Shopping Season

On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced changes to the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program to provide additional support for small businesses that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The modifications will allow businesses with revenues of up to $2.5M to apply for grants, should they meet the eligible business qualifications. This is an increase from the previous $500,000 threshold.


With grants awarded for a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $50,000, businesses across New York State can ensure their business-related expenses are covered. For many businesses, this comes just in time for the holiday shopping season – a vital revenue opportunity for many organizations. According to the National Retail Association, holiday sales in November and December have averaged about 19% of annual retail sales over the course of the past 5 years. However, for many organizations (depending on vertical of business), this figure could be much higher.


From a marketing perspective, many businesses know that there will be a renewed need to spend a portion of their budget on marketing in order to attract both new and returning customers. Nationally, we’ve already seen this trend in action. In July, ad spend increased 43% year-over-year, marking the fifth consecutive month of increased spend. What’s more? The data indicates that smaller advertising categories are outpacing the top 10 advertising categories relative to both 2020 and 2019.


Furthermore, the mediums on which ads are running at an increased rate are also changing due to changes in performance. According to a study conducted by Australia’s ThinkNewsBrands, a cross-platform analysis found that both print and digital news publications perform better than ads on social media channels. In addition, print ads in particular had higher memory impacts on readers. Digitally (mobile and desktop) ads placed within news mediums delivered 1.7 times the unprompted recall of 6-second YouTube ads and a 10% stronger sales growth than social media.


A challenge for any marketer is determining which platform makes the most sense for their organization to advertise on in order to reach the largest audience while simultaneously legitimizing the company’s mission. For organizations not only considering a branding campaign, but a campaign that can precisely target desired customers, partnering with a trusted news source with an immense volume of first party data like the Times Union, magnifies the impact of the message being put forth. The Times Union and are the Capital Region’s top newspaper and top online news source, respectively. As is the digital home of the Times Union, the website is an equally trusted news source.


The trials and tribulations of the past year have shown marketers and consumers alike the power of originality and the value in utilizing new, fresh advertising channels and mediums. While there are numerous ways to creatively and effectively separate your organization from the crowd, some are more cost effective (and purely effective!) than others, as evidenced by the aforementioned media study.


Leveraging marketing tactics with your business goals and priorities in mind is an important factor when determining the marketing avenue to pursue. If there are marketing dollars spent to attract customers, there needs to be positive ROI, or return on investment, associated with that spend. As the holiday season approaches and businesses are able to take advantage of government assistance to minimize financial stress, leveraging partnerships and advertising opportunities can be of great help in returning to what was pre-pandemic.




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