As the world begins to open businesses, we must be on the forefront of calling on target categories of business. There are categories that saw gains during the COVID 19 crisis. Other categories will rebound as states and countries open.
Our efforts should be to identify and create messages for these companies.
AnalyticOwl uses website traffic and other metrics to gauge consumer appetite for a range of categories. Some of the categories they identified as seeing gains included home furnishings, home improvement, landscaping, lawn and garden and life insurance. Other categories that improved were liquor stores, mattresses, pet supplies and home repair.
Automotive is also showing signs of improvement. We know that the average time for the buy cycle of autos is between two and fifteen weeks. Even if your auto dealers are not open yet, NOW is the time to invest in advertising to precondition future buyers while they are formulating what type of car they will buy and WHERE they will buy it.
How quickly companies rebound from the crisis depends on several elements. One element is when and to what extent they begin to speak to potential customers. If the company has been silent for two months, it is imperative that they begin NOW to rebuild top-of-mind awareness. The consuming public forgets quickly, especially if their competitors continued to advertise. If you had clients who stopped or postponed their campaigns, they should be on the top of your list to contact.
If some of your clients cut back their advertising, now is a good time to increase schedules to OES levels (Optimum Effective Schedules). For most radio stations, this requires between 21 and 40 commercials per week. The actual number depends on your turnover ratio and can be computed from rating numbers if you subscribe. If you don't, a good rule of thumb is at LEAST 3 a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
When first reopening, we recommend a heavy schedule for the first 2 weeks. One per hour daily. Announce the "grand reopening". Then transition to an OES schedule.
Clients may be hesitant to commit to long-term. This business interruption will not correct itself in a few weeks. Consumers will come back in stages: some will have pent-up demand and will return to the stores quickly. Others will wait and watch what other consumers do before they venture into the stores. Others may take months before they feel comfortable to shop. Because of consumer behavior, it is important that our business clients think long term. Perhaps our campaigns for them might be created in 3-month increments. We ask for schedules through the end of 2020, but we offer 3-month evaluations on the progress. We offer flexibility.
The second element for rebounding is the message. As consumer behavior evolves, our messages must evolve also. Already consumers are tired of hearing "We're all in this together", "We'll get through this". No more somber music. It's time to focus on the future. What will it feel like when the world returns to normal? People are longing for normal. No one knows what "normal" will be moving forward, but we do know that the public wants to feel safe, they want to feel free to gather together, to worship, to attend sporting events. It may be necessary to tell consumers how each company is sanitizing and keeping customers safe at least for now. Eventually, this will become less important. Our job is to gauge when it is time to move messaging from "We're in this together" to "It's safe to shop with us" to "We have what you want."
This crisis has presented an opportunity for companies to bond with their customers. There has been an upsurge in the feeling of community. We can help our clients to utilize this in their messaging.
Our jobs have just begun. It will not be "business as usual" for a long time. Nevertheless, if we identify the businesses who need our help as they open, create ideas, messages and campaigns for them as the situation evolves, our clients can win and WE can win.
Make your target lists, reach out to those prospects with ideas. Radio has proven to be the "great accelerator". Now we have the chance to accelerate the world's recovery with advertising!