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Advertising During Slower Economic Times

Inflation continues to pose problems around the world, and business owners both large and small are having to check their budgets and decide what – if any – items can be on the chopping block.

Often, it’s the advertising and marketing budgets that end up as proposed cuts to try to make economic sacrifices in order to maintain profit margins. But that approach can be a fool’s game, cutting into one of the most effective tools you have for driving consumers to your business. When economic times are tough, it’s absolutely time to sharpen your advertising and marketing approach. Here are some ways to do that.

Dig Deeper

The current economic climate is your chance to really focus and find your intended audience. By interpreting data and using it to find the correct audience, you can put your message – and your product – in front of your ideal customer base. Just like with your business, income and spending habits are likely to shift the longer that global inflation and supply chain challenges remain significant issues. Don’t be surprised if the data you currently have isn’t sufficient for your needs. That just means we need to dig deeper by expanding our knowledge of your ideal consumers via their purchases, their media consumption, and their behavior.

Unique Reach

To that end, we’re going to have to introduce a technical term when it comes to digital advertising: Deduplicated metrics. This is how we measure the unique audience that your advertising streams reach. When we talk about unique reach, we want to count how many individuals your ads reach rather than the much less-valuable impressions your advertising efforts receive. Without understanding these metrics, you may find yourself with thousands of impressions because of the frequency of your ads without that many individual interactions.

I’ll say it more plainly: Unique audience reach is more valuable than impressions. The Nielsen Company’s research backs this up. Earlier in 2022, Nielsen studied 15 brands and 82 digital campaigns throughout the U.S. and found that campaigns with a stronger target reach consistently delivered better sales outcomes.

Be Responsive

Not every marketing strategy works 100% of the time, and seasoned marketing professionals know this (and have prepared their clients for this eventuality). But one of the best things we can do for our clients is to continue to collect data and feedback. This allows us to adjust quickly, experiment, and optimize our efforts. Nielsen reports that brands waste 40% of their digital advertising on the wrong audience, while 29% of their cable TV ad spend reaches audiences that are not the intended target.

At Strong Automotive Merchandising, we analyze reach, frequency, and gross rating points across platforms. And we use our collected data and experience to interpret that data to adjust our outreach as needed to help get the best return on investment for our clients.

So when you’re thinking of tightening your belt, don’t be so quick to cut your ad spend or your marketing budget. Instead, take a careful look to make sure you’re digging deep to find your ideal customer base, getting your message in front of the intended audience, and that you’re able to adjust to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself and your business.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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