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How to Protect Brand Loyalty During Slow Economy

A report released from Web marketing analyst comScore outlines the effects of the recession on brand loyalty. The study covered a period from 2008 to 2011. Findings show that, as adverse conditions persist, more consumers are “buying down” from brands they would prefer to purchase. If they are not looking for discounts on their favorite brands, thrifty shoppers are buying less expensive competitors. According to the report, there appears to be a significant risk to premium brands if lean times continue.

 

Previous studies of recessionary times reveal that brands which continue to invest in marketing through bad times achieve greater market share following a recession. But it is typical for companies to lower ad budgets during those times. The goal should be to get more return from advertising dollars.

 

Fortunately, the advent of online advertising has provided a channel that was previously unavailable. But comScore uncovered some findings that prove valuable across the channel spectrum.

 

                Evaluate Strategy and Use Screening Process Prior to Creative Development

Even the most lavish creative won’t sell if the strategy is misses its mark. The study showed no positive correlation between production costs and effectiveness; therefore, an evaluation of marketing strategy is essential to creating value for the company. According to comScore, “…strategy evaluation and early-stage screening will almost guarantee that advertising will sell and that precious advertising dollars are not wasted”. Though it seems difficult to guarantee anything in the current economic situation, the study showed that “above average creative strategy leads to an above average execution 70 percent of the time, and has yet to be observed to lead to a below-average execution”.

 

                There is Strength in 15-second Spots

comScore’s research shows that 15-second TV spots, when pooled with 30-second ads, can be just as effective as their more expensive partner ads. Three hundred pairs were analyzed, with 15-second spots being 75% as effective as 30-second spots, and, in some cases – 25% of the time – the 15-second ad pulled equally or better than the longer counterparts.

 

The researchers suggest condensing effective elements of the longer spot can be an effective strategy in a smaller budget. While true, it must be noted that not all messages are able to be reduced. The key is to completely understand which elements are effective.

 

                Integrated Touch Points Are Here

The consumer audience is elusive. Market avoidance is a concern when structuring a multi-channel strategy. The combination of multiple media has proven more effective than each channel separately. For example, TV and digital media combined provide nearly 16% more lift than TV alone. CMOs recommend that synergies – along with negative interactions – should be examined to determine the most effective split among touch points.

 

                Better to Float than Flight

The gap between impressions can be a costly one. Research shows that “dark” periods during a TV campaign can hurt retention. comScore’s results reveal that a continuous air strategy (albeit at reduced levels) is almost doubly effective as a flighted strategy.

 

So, even in this prolonged recessed economy, there are effective strategies to maintain brand awareness. Product placement in multiple markets may be helpful to maintain overall market share, but history has shown that, without a well-researched, cost-effective marketing strategy, an enterprise will lose share and waste money hunting for fewer sales.

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Adam Vandergang

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