Do You Have Advertising Hesitancy? Here's How to Market During Challenging Times
It may not be second nature for business leaders to advertise during hard times - whether those hard times include a recession, a pandemic, or a downturn specific to one industry. In fact, many find themselves overcome by "advertising hesitancy" during periods of chaos.
However, there are many important reasons why you should maintain (or even step up) your advertising game during challenging times. The following information will discuss what advertising hesitancy is, why it can be self-defeating, and how you can continue to successfully market no matter what's happening in the economy.
Advertising Hesitancy, Explained
"Advertising hesitancy" is, as the name implies, a reluctance to allocate resources toward marketing efforts. It is a common phenomenon when companies face major challenges, both internally and externally.
The problem with advertising hesitancy is that, for most businesses, marketing initiatives are directly related to a steady influx of new customers. When that influx slows down to a trickle, the business suffers as a result. Moreover, changing market conditions can open up enormous potential for companies to find new audiences, connect with them in meaningful ways, and develop mutually beneficial relationships.
The Negative Effects of Halted Advertising
There could be several reasons why a business may feel compelled to (temporarily) halt advertising. For instance, they may feel like they need to "tighten their belts" to weather losses, or they may not understand the true ROI of their marketing efforts. Whatever the case may be, putting a stop to advertising, even temporarily, can have a significant negative impact on your business.
- You'll lose any momentum you've previously gained, perhaps in terms of SERP rankings, PPC ads, top of mind awareness, and other marketing areas.
- You'll lose the opportunity to connect with your consumer base, perhaps in a new and more authentic way, as they also deal with adversity.
- You'll lose consistency across your marketing strategy. This is a big deal since research suggests that consistent brands are worth 20% more than their inconsistent counterparts.
5 Ways to Market Even During Tough Times
It's true, advertising during the pandemic has been challenging for many companies. Maintaining a through-line that connects your previous campaigns with the market's current reality in a consistent way is no small feat to accomplish. Nevertheless, several organizations have successfully stepped up their marketing game, even during tough times.
Here are five suggestions in this regard that you may find helpful:
- Foster your connections to promote a sense of community. Use your social media accounts to engage with devoted followers. Double down on your network of B2B contacts. Implement initiatives that ease the burden your users are bearing (perhaps through special discounts, an expanded knowledge base for customers, and so forth).
- Turn your current customers into loyal brand advocates. Relationships have always been meaningful in sales and marketing, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how essential they indeed are, especially in B2B sales. Whether you're building on the strength of already established relationships or prospecting for new clients, focus on the value you can provide them and then deliver excellent service.
- Contextualize your content using first-party data. With a "cookie-less future" in the offing, first-party data has become more critical to a personalized customer experience than ever before. Instead of delivering generic content based on primary demographic data, leverage information that your consumers willingly give you into a highly personalized, valuable, and reassuring experience.
- Authentically support your customers. Many companies have given their customers special discounts and deals (in some cases, even free products or services) to help them navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic. For instance, many grocery stores implemented free curbside pick-up services, at least for a time. Look for ways to support your audience in practical, meaningful ways. You'll build a glowing reputation if you do.
- Deliver a differentiated experience. During tough times, you don't have to stay "on the defensive" in marketing. Use the opportunity to rethink your strategy from top to bottom. Identify gaps in your competitors' service experience, and exploit them to stand out from the crowd. Give your consumers what they want and need, in a way they may not expect.
The Role of Consistent Marketing
Perpetual marketing ensures that your brand reminds top-of-mind, not just in the short term but for months and years to come. Customers often require multiple touchpoints from a specific campaign before they're ready to buy from a company. If you remain consistent in your marketing efforts and never press the "pause" button, you'll eventually see a significant ROI from your strategy, no matter how difficult things get.
Advertising hesitancy is a real phenomenon, and it can affect any business going through challenging times. However, if you keep the "pedal to the metal" on your marketing plan, your company will come out the other side stronger, more popular, and better positioned for sustainable growth.
Whether you're in the home improvement industry, travel industry, or any other business sector, working with an experienced media agency can help your business to grow even during the toughest of periods. With some expert assistance, you can continue to market during challenging times and reap the benefits of doing so.
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