How to Advertise Your Local Business During Political Seasons
Mastering Advertising During Election Season: What You Need to Know (And What Your Advertisers Aren't Telling You)
Just prior to any election, do you stop dining out or shopping? Do you put off doing work around the house or forego planning a vacation?
…NO! Doing what you enjoy doesn’t stop with an election on the horizon, so why should your advertising strategy?
You may have been told advertising space during the broadcast TV nightly news has dried up, but that doesn’t mean your customers’ needs have dried up too. They are still doing everyday activities like the ones mentioned above, and they are still watching networks on Cable TV besides the news.
Our guess is there are media partners out there banking on the fact that you think TV is TV – and it’s not.
There is no need to go to the sidelines on TV advertising during a political season. You have options!
Cable TV offers much of the same audiences anyone would like to reach by using Broadcast TV, but with far more inventory and focused programming available. From foodies watching the Food Network to prospective home improvers watching HGTV, there is pretty much something for everyone. And if you are trying to reach a broader audience, Cable TV has several news networks to choose from (CNN, MSNBC, FOX). Let’s not forget sports programming on ESPN and FS1, as well as prime-time popular shows that appeal to large audiences like The Walking Dead. When broadcast TV seems to be “closed” during the political season, remember that Cable TV is open 24/7!
No, don’t move your entire budget to digital advertising.
The other thing you may be told by your broadcast TV partner is to move all of your advertising dollars to their digital solutions. If this was a good idea, wouldn’t they tell you to do this all year long? Once upon a time, I’m sure they had to present you with one of those well-known stats that shows how effective TV plus digital can be together (adding digital to TV produces a “kicker” effect of 60% higher ROI).
Let’s switch gears here a little, put all stats aside, and focus on what we see. Basic signaling theory tells you this – there is information in all actions. If you were driving along a barren road and you saw a Starbucks opening shop at an intersection – would you guess they chose to locate here randomly? No, of course not. They know something, and many dollars were spent before a decision was made. (And if one of the other corners is available for sale you’d be smart to buy it.)
The same holds true for advertising – there is information in the choices. Take a second to see the brands who are advertising on various Cable networks. Use their money and moves to your advantage. There has never been a time where the major brands have fled TV completely because of election season. Don’t take my word for it, take their dollars’ word for it.
Have you looked into a zoned TV advertising buy?
It also may be a good time for your brand to experiment with what’s called zone buying (if you’ve never heard of it – check out this blog). Depending on where you live, you may be able to divide up your budget into parts of your city called “zones.” Chances are, your broadcast partner can’t offer you that option.
Extend your creative investment to reach the Hispanic audience.
If you really want to extend your buy, take the same creative and change the voice over a bit to reach the ever-growing Hispanic audience in your community. If you are advertising on ESPN, why not advertise on ESPN Deportes (for some great reasons why, check out this blog on things you can do to reach Hispanic audiences). Again, probably not something your broadcast partner can get you access to.
Bottom line – it’s important that you keep your name out there at all times.
The best piece of advice I've ever received when it comes to an advertising budget is that when you go to the sidelines or cut your ad budget, those ad dollars are lost forever. Please let that sink in for a moment and know that regardless of what your broadcast partner may be telling you, your advertising messages should be as active as your potential customers are, no matter what time of year it is.