A lot has happened in the last five years for businesses and advertising. So much has changed in how companies target consumers and how those people consume content. It’s created an explosion in streaming, new ways of targeting and a shift in customer expectations. However, almost 50% of businesses haven’t changed their advertising strategy in this time.

It may seem hard to believe, but new research drew this conclusion. Let’s review the data and discuss how you can help advertisers rethink their plans to drive better ROI (return on investment).

What Businesses Said About Their Advertising Strategy

The study was a partnership between Pinterest and Accenture. It sought to understand the new advertising landscape, with some interesting results. Companies noted they’ve had to adjust budgets to address campaign costs. When asked about their strategy, 45% said it had not changed in five years, and 71% had no plans to update it.

Why aren’t businesses evolving? Change itself is hard and can involve many challenges. Advertisers may also have gaps in knowledge around tactics and targeting. One key driver of advertising strategy changes has been the deprecation of third-party cookies. Not realizing its coming impact keeps many advertisers in the bucket of “it’s not broken (yet), so it doesn’t need a fix.”

More insights from the findings demonstrate that companies don’t have alignment on ROI, ROAS (return on ad spend) or full-funnel outcomes. Misalignment means they didn’t consider these objectives when creating campaigns.

With many businesses stuck in the past, local media sellers have an opportunity to open their eyes to what’s possible now.

4 Approaches to Helping Local Businesses Evolve Their Advertising Strategy

Defining a strategy is an essential first step in working with customers. When you learn it’s been the same for too long, use these approaches to support change.

Revisit Ideal Customer Profiles

The first step is simply asking businesses about their ideal customer profiles. Find out if they have any and how long ago they created them. Brands should revisit these annually because a lot can change, internally and externally.

Old customer profiles could be guiding targeting for digital ads. If they don’t match up to who their actual customers are, ads won’t perform very well. Take them through an exercise to build these using the tips in this post. It can reveal a lot and will help them optimize ROAS.

Review Market Changes

Your market has undoubtedly undergone changes in the last five years. Those directly relate to how businesses should advertise. Your clients need to understand today’s market forces — competition, economics and general shifts in how people purchase things. For example, new businesses have opened that could be taking market share from them. They may have some awareness of this but haven’t dissected it.

These are conversations you need to have because they can lead to campaign ideas. Geofencing competitor locations with incentive ads is one option. Another would be to create ads that touch on the competition’s weaknesses and your customer’s strengths.

How people buy is another area that’s been in flux. For example, restaurants that survived the pandemic shifted to takeout and delivery. Dine-in has rebounded, but many consumers still prefer getting food to go. This is a high-level trend, and companies can determine how it affected their business by looking at the data.

You may think businesses are always tapping into their data, but it can be something they overlook in the day-to-day. Remind them of how valuable this is and that it should inform advertising.

Discuss the Importance of Omnichannel Campaigns

Many businesses may be in advertising silos. They use different tactics but not within the same campaign. They are spreading their budgets around but without an actual strategy.

Using multiple tactics within one campaign delivers better results. You can offer them linear radio spots and digital ads within the same ecosystem. When campaigns are omnichannel, they can expand reach and target specific people.

As a rule of thumb on digital, try the 3-6-5 method. It stands for three tactics, six months and $5,000. It should be the minimum.

Expose Them to New, Emerging Channels

Many local advertisers don’t go outside the familiarity of display ads or SEM (search engine marketing). There are so many more channels for them to use that can improve ROAS. Take OTT/CTV, for example. It’s the fastest-growing local ad tactic, and streaming outperforms linear TV. There is a great opportunity for brands to get in front of consumers in non-skippable ads. They are also targetable by demographics, geography and more.

Advertisers should also consider niche social media sites if they align with their ideal customers. Meta properties still receive the bulk of ad spend, and they can be effective. However, it may be a good idea to explore Pinterest, Snapchat or LinkedIn. For example, Gen Z loves Snapchat, and it can be a fun way to market to them. Advise them to test some campaigns to see if these other channels are effective.

Help Businesses Evolve Their Advertising Strategy in 2024

As you plan to reconnect with customers about their 2024 strategy, consider how you can help them evolve. Doing so will improve ROAS and ad performance. That’s great news for you, as it could lead to more spending. Bringing these things to the table demonstrates your value and expertise as their advertising consultant.

The year ahead is also a good time to look at your own ad operations and how to be more effective and efficient in 2024. Read our new e-book, You’re Selling Digital Advertising — Now What, to learn how to streamline operations and grow revenue.