Oh, uncertainty — it’s the thing that makes us all rethink our approach. Yes, there is economic uncertainty, but it’s a mixed bag. There are both positive and negative signs. How it affects your advertisers has much to do with your market and their industry. As you approach new clients and seek renewals from others, you’ll want to refresh your sales pitch to address their concerns and potential budget cuts.

Review these tips to update your sales strategy for 2023 and beyond.

Uncertainty Is Always Around; Focus on Your Market

This year isn’t unique; economic uncertainty is part of the modern world. With so many factors impacting it, you’ll do best to ignore the headlines and focus on your market and advertisers. There are many things to be optimistic about in the economy, including a strong job market, healthy retail sales, slowing inflation and a strong dollar.

Some industries are weathering the uncertainty quite well, with many expected to increase local advertising spending. The BIA U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2023 projects that revenue for all local advertising will reach $164.7 billion. In the digital space, the report expects a 6.7% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2027. OTT is the breakout hit in this mix, and several verticals will increase their budgets for it in 2023, including legal services, hospitals, restaurants, auto and grocery.

You’ll need to evaluate your market and how it’s responding. Define what industries are thriving, seeking to gain market share, need employees more than customers, and are unique to your area (e.g., tourism, events, cannabis, gambling).

In readying for conversations about advertising opportunities, come to the table with facts about the local economy. Business owners can often be reactive to stories that paint a grim picture. Bringing the conversation back to what’s happening in your area should always be part of your sales approach.

Uncertainty Is a Time to Grow Market Share

Companies have typically cut ad budgets when there’s even the slightest air of uncertainty. In reality, that’s not a great move. They remove themselves from consumers’ eyes, which gives competitors a chance to make a move. You want your advertisers to be the ones that can lure away customers.

This sentiment is growing, as a new survey found that 73% of organizations see economic uncertainty as an opportunity to gain market share and increase ad spending. Another data point from the research stated that 53% of respondents plan to increase budgets.

A great example is the restaurant industry. Quick-service, fast food and casual dining are constantly battling for diners. If some pull back, others can take the spotlight and drive customers to their eateries. A geofencing display ad campaign around competitor stores is one tactic to use. With a special deal, those hungry consumers may head on over. Ads featuring loyalty programs are also a way to sway people.

Many Advertisers Still Need Workers

Some of your clients may pull back on promotional ads but have healthy budgets for recruitment advertising. The job market is still healthy, and unemployment remains low. So many industries need employees, including restaurants, retail, construction, transportation, health care and hospitality. Make sure your clients know you can help them launch targeted digital campaigns to increase the number and quality of applicants.

E-BookFor more tips on recruitment advertising, read our e-book Recruitment Advertising: How to Get Businesses to Hire You to Fill Their Employment Needs.

In-Store Shopping Is Back

Last year’s holiday shopping turnout demonstrated that in-store shopping was rebounding. A new survey asking retail consumers about preferences found that 63% are doing most shopping in stores. The research also disclosed that the experience was less than stellar. With this information, you can talk to retail advertisers about a few options.

First, propose an in-store traffic campaign using a mix of tactics, including geofencing, OTT, social media advertising and radio. Incentivize customers to return to the store for a discount. It could drive a big lift.

The second component would be ads that capture the experience. Local retailers usually outperform big-box retailers in this area. Ad narratives about how the store and its employees care about service could be the right message at the right time.

Consumers will be more frugal with their dollars and want a great experience. Delivering a campaign that hits on both could yield impressive results.

Improving Targeting and Expanding Tactics Can Be Attractive to Apprehensive Advertisers

Your clients all want the best return on ad spend. You’ll be able to approach the conversation with two focuses — targeting and diversifying tactics.

Niche Targeting

Being niche in targeting can deliver strong outcomes for your advertisers. It’s not a strategy you can apply to all your clients, but it could be an effective route for some. You don’t want to be too narrow, but you want ads to appear to the most relevant consumer group.

A good way to work on targeting is to look at data from past campaigns. Was the targeting useful in driving engagement or revenue? What other attributes could dial this in better?

For example, a local landscaping company you work with may have used targeting around home ownership and geographic area. That’s still a large part of the population. You may be able to optimize this by adding things like:

  • Specific ZIP codes of the largest suburban areas, as city dwellers who own homes don’t usually have yards
  • Household income numbers that correlate with discretionary income to pay for these services
  • New homeowners (i.e., purchased the home in the last three months), as they may be looking for a landscaper

Data will tell the story of whether targeting works, and you’ll want to continue to optimize this for your advertisers.

Diversifying Tactics

For advertisers that see an opportunity to expand their reach, using new tactics will be essential. The formats you recommend will depend upon their industry and audience, and there are opportunities for all. As noted, OTT is growing considerably and is excellent for local advertising. It can connect your customers to a targeted demographic and reach cord-cutters.

If your clients are looking for new, younger customers, present them with options for Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok. These platforms can expose their brand to many local customers that are becoming spending consumers.

Another channel your advertisers may be reluctant to spend in is SEM (search engine marketing). It can be expensive and highly competitive. However, reaching local buyers is critical, as most start with a search. To make the most of their budget, talk to them about how your SEM offering includes continued optimization based on which keywords and ads get the most engagement.

Ready to Refresh Your Sales Pitch?

Use these tips to refresh your sales pitch no matter the economic environment. These are all strategies you can use for many years, as the focus is on what matters — your market, client needs and consumer expectations.

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