Advertising During Difficult Times

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August 5, 2022

Turn on the news these days and surely, you’ll see it, a debate about whether we are, or are not in the grips of a recession. Economists like to argue semantics and evaluate GDP, job numbers and alike, but regardless, we can all feel it, something in the air, the hazy, dull malaise that says, “things suck right now.” One area where all economists and business pundits agree is that inflation is jabbing the U.S. right now, no haymakers are being thrown, but from the price of fuel to the price of food, rising rent costs and home mortgage rates, this post pandemic economy continues to pepper us with steady rights and lefts.  

Not that it will make you feel any better, but other countries have been dealt the knockout blow as it relates to inflation. Turkey for example is currently experiencing inflation of 80%, and experts claim it has not yet reached its peak. Its most populous city, Istanbul is experiencing an increase in the cost of daily necessities of 99%, and countries like Lebanon and Venezuela have exceeded triple digits.

But back in the U.S. you’ve got a business to run. There is payroll to be met, debt to be serviced, supplies to be purchased and your customers are walking around with less buying power than they had last year. So, what do you do? Cutting your expenses is obvious, but which and how aggressively is something every business owner must wrestle with.

I’ve been in business for nearly 3 decades, dealing with small business owners in every conceivable industry and profession. Our business has weathered the storm, through the burst of the dot com bubble, September 11th, the Great Recession and many smaller economic calamities. I know what hard times look like and the angst they can cause the small business operator. 

If your business is experiencing a slowdown, one key decision that must be made is how to allocate the more precious than ever marketing dollars. The knee jerk reaction is to question yourself with “why should I continue to invest in advertising”? I’ve been there, I’ve asked that question myself, but I now know that that thinking is far off base. In fact, certain conditions which are inherent to a slowdown, can open the door to progress and less costly opportunities for gaining market share.

McGraw Hill is one of our country’s biggest publishers of educational content. They studied hundreds of companies from a wide array of industries and came to the following conclusion. When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise. In the study, they determined that companies who shut down their advertising during periods of hardship experienced virtually zero growth in market share once the economy picked up. Conversely, those companies who continued to advertise through the difficult times, saw nearly 300% higher sales than their non-advertising competitors. 

Moreover, there are new opportunities that arise when certain competitors are removed from the field of battle. Google Ads function as an auction to the highest bidder. Less ads means more access to customers for less spend. Google’s algorithm which looks at active advertising, website modifications, review flow and other actions as “signals” to reward with favorable rank, are also easier to leverage when there are less players running around the field. 

Smart marketing and targeted ads which are running today, will yield real world results tomorrow. These conditions enable your company to reap long term rewards, while your competitors are sitting on the bench. More than ever before, your ad dollars are put to work in a transparent way, with performance based campaigns that enable you to advertise, spending X and soon thereafter, generating Y. When you think about the good ole days and how advertising worked, the KPI tracking we utilize today on virtually all the major ad platforms, is mind blowing. Your tailored message, served up hot to your key customer audience on whichever device they happen to be using, is truly amazing in a historical context.

Times of uncertainty always generate opportunities in business. Before your reflex kicks in and you stand down your ads, I invite even the biggest cynic to think about it… even if this study of hundreds of businesses is half right, a year or so from now, how would you feel about 150% increase in sales when your competitors have had zero growth? 

Don’t answer, just think about it, and if you would like to discuss your company’s Online Marketing plans with an expert, OMG National is here to help!

Stay gold!


By: Jesse Lubar

CEO, OMG National

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