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Eyes on the Economy: 3 Ways to Survive the Current Economic Situation 

In times of economic uncertainty, it’s important to remember that your company can not only survive but thrive by reacting positively to less-than-ideal circumstances. Michael Clifford, Local Sales Manager at TEGNA’s 11Alive in Atlanta, shares his key ingredients to help brands remain connected and top-of-mind with their customers when instinct may say to scale back marketing and advertising. 

Meredith Cunningham Published: September 23, 2022

By Michael Clifford, Local Sales Manager at TEGNA’s 11Alive in Atlanta 

Let’s be honest, we’re all concerned about the economy and the future it holds. Despite cheaper gas prices, inflation still rose 8.3% in August, while the GDP of the first two quarters this year was -1.6% and -0.6%. (Two-quarters of negative growth has historically been the definition of a recession). The government continues to pump unprecedented levels of money into the economy while the Fed raises interest rates. Fears of the stock and housing market bubbles bursting are very real.  

There is a lot of uncertainty, and in these times, businesses re-evaluate their advertising expenditures. Companies that reduce or even eliminate their advertising budgets could experience a more negative impact during a recession compared to those actively spending. Unfortunately, not all businesses survive recessions; however, it’s key to remember that the purging of weak companies is an important part of recessions. It’s crucial to the eventual health and continued growth of the economy upward. We forget that recessions are necessary and healthy.   

Strong companies will survive and grow, but, to thrive, they must remain connected and top-of-mind with their customers. 

Here are three key reasons why advertising during uncertain times is imperative.

1. Competitive Advantage

Being active and present for your customers when your competitors are silent is a critical advantage. With fewer advertisers in the market, this is an opportunity to stand out. 

During uncertain times, we crave the familiar. Advertising during uncertain times creates a sense of stability for consumers. Companies with evergreen advertising are seen as leaders in their space. This factor alone can affect how the market views your business.

2. Customer Engagement and Insights

Customer engagement is always meaningful, especially so during uncertain times. Increasing customer engagement creates a positive and lasting impression in your audience’s mind, building greater brand equity. 

Conversations with your customers provide precious insights into their ever-evolving needs and wants. The insights from this dialogue exchange enable advertisers to adjust to shifts in consumer behavior to deliver an effective and highly relevant advertising strategy. Steady engagement leads to valuable insights, which ensures your communication is visible to your audiences at the right time. 

 3. Visibility

Visibility is the thread that stitches competitive advantage and customer engagement together. It’s understandable why some companies have a knee-jerk reaction to reduce or remove ad spending in shaky economic conditions. Long-term visibility is vital to the success of any organization, regardless of size or economic conditions. 

Remember these six words, out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps cliché, but true nonetheless, especially in a tumultuous market. 

Tips for Advertising During Uncertain Times 

We established that being present for your customers is an advantage over your competition. We identified the importance of increased customer engagement and how to leverage insights to refine your advertising strategy. Without visibility, we acknowledged that we lose our competitive advantage and risk missing valuable learnings from weak customer engagements.   

Marketing is effective only when it evolves to accommodate shifts in the market. Keep the following in mind when advertising during economic uncertainty: 

1. Lead With Empathy

Being active and present for your customers during economic downturns comes with great responsibility. Nothing is more important than reading the room. Your audience is stressed; to say the past few years were a roller coaster is a massive understatement. Include compassion in your communication and customer engagement without straying from your core image. Positive and uplifting communication does wonders for our well-being and overall mental health. Consumers will associate these feelings with you. 

 2. Focus on Building Connections

Establishing new or strengthening existing connections enhances loyalty and a positive perception of your brand. This strategy may not deliver immediate results, but it will become a competitive advantage when the economy recovers. 

3. Be Where Your Customers Are

Similar to the old adage, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If your ad is missed by your target audience, can it make an impact? It depends on how you approach it. In terms of new customer acquisition, exposing your message to new consumers can be advantageous; however, when consumers receive irrelevant advertisements, it’s not well received or ignored. 

It is essential to gain a deeper understanding of your audience, what’s important to them, and where you can reach them. TEGNA is a full-service solution, we can reach your audience across any screen when advertising matters the most. A leader in broadcast, OTT, Digital and Attribution, we are here to grow your business. 

Final Thoughts 

It’s natural to feel anxious about the economy, but remember, recessions are necessary and healthy. We discussed the competitive advantages of advertising during economic downturns and the stability it provides consumers. Your customers are your biggest asset. Going dark gives your competitor’s the opportunity to steal your most valuable assets. Customer engagement strengthens your brand affinity, and it yields fantastic insights you can leverage and adjust your advertising strategy to align with customer sentiment. You cannot achieve a competitive advantage or strong customer engagement without visibility. 

We cannot control external circumstances, such as a global pandemic or economic recession. We are, however, in control of our narrative and how we react to less-than-ideal circumstances. Leading with empathy, building connections, and being where your customers are key ingredients that not only help you survive the uncertainties but thrive in uncertainties. 

Sound Good?  

If your company wants to stand out and thrive during times of uncertainty, let’s get in touch. 

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