One of the tenents of my sales system is the "Mini CNA". In normal times these would occur with our annual advertisers 3 times a year, about every four months. They allow us to keep pace with our clients' changing needs. Now is the time to use these. Every client's needs will have changed.
If possible, talk with them BEFORE they get the green light to open. Especially if they have been off the air for the last seven or so weeks, the sooner they begin to ramp up, the better. A good strategy might be to develop a campaign that continues to offer lower rates or additional messages for a period of time, then increases investment over the next 4-6 months, culminating with a 12-month campaign. According to Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, "Deep attitudes change at the pace of agriculture, one circle around the sun. 365 days." We need to remind our clients that messaging potential customers over a week or two will not be enough to jump-start their businesses. Consumers are likely to come back to stores in stages: some will be the first in the door. Some will wait a few weeks. Some may take even longer. Feeling safe to shop in person may be more important than price in their decision to revisit stores.
It's likely that how our clients service their customers will have changed. If they have been reliant on curbside or delivery, most will maintain those options. Those of us who have digital departments may find that there are great opportunities for us to create digital venues for our clients. Our clients who were not prepared to operate in a bricks and mortar world and a virtual world will have seen the need to do so. More than ever, business needs to have two storefronts. We need to be first in the door to help them.
All of these business changes will necessitate new messaging. We've seen how important our ability to change copy quickly has been a huge advantage during the past couple of months. It will continue to be. Consumer mindset will continue to evolve over the next few weeks and months. Keeping up with that mindset will be vital to our customers' success. Stay close and stay current.
Many of us have gone above and beyond in meeting our customers' needs during the crisis. Their businesses have suffered: so have ours. We may continue to offer special deals and help to our customers but do not be squeamish about asking for money. Our clients will realize that we are a business too. "The fastest way to get what we want (increased revenue) is to help others to get what they want (increased revenue). If we present IDEAS and CAMPAIGNS that are designed to help our clients to reopen their businesses and regain revenue, they will respond positively.
May and June are critical to restarting the economy. Advertising is the grease on the wheel of the capitalistic system. To get the economy moving again as quickly as possible, it is necessary to ADVERTISE! The public has been starved for many things, companionship among them: the freedom to walk through a store, to meet with their friends, to travel, to attend sporting events and movies. It will not be an overnight process, but consumers will come back. They may shop differently, but they will shop. And they will shop with the merchants that ask for their business and provide a reason for them to come. Let's help those merchants to ask!