A recently released Ad-ology Research study reports that in a lousy economy, consumers are paying attention to companies that advertise - and those who don't. According to the research, nearly half of the respondents believe that when companies become invisible from an advertising perspective, it's an indication that they're struggling financially.
Of course, this is great news for radio (and television and newspapers, etc.) because it can help sales reps make their cases that even during tough times, remaining visible is good business. I would argue that during recessions, in particular, it's especially important to market, and advantageous, too. As we know all too well, most stations are now charging 1970's rates, and it's not like there's a lot of competitive clutter out there. It wasn't that many months ago when I was hearing stopsets that contained three different car dealerships or automotive brands. Ahh, the good old days.
I was in Chicago recently, a town where radio advertising used to be famous... and ubiquitous. You couldn't drive a quarter mile without seeing The Loop, XRT, Q101, WBBM, WLS, and a host of other stations on the sides of buildings and on spectacular billboards all over town. But during my visit, I only saw WTMX and The Drive. What do they have in common? They are both owned by Bonneville, and they seem to be sitting on top of adult PPM rankers.
Maybe you've also heard radio spots for CBS Outdoor, as they try to drum up business for their battered ad medium. Their slug line - "Becoming invisible is not a marketing strategy" - definitely caught my attention. And it made me wonder whether the radio stations that air these spots heard the message, too.
In deep recessions, there are winners and losers. The venerable brands that keep their content as fresh and healthy as possible, combined with a visible marketing presence, are going to be in the best shape when this mess finally subsides. Maybe we should start listening to our own advice.