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Home > News & Events > Newsletter > Archives > December, 2008 > Does it pay to advertise in tough times?

Does it pay to advertise in tough times?

The short answer is “Yes." The longer answer deals with the efficiency of your ad spend and targeting your dollars to reach the right prospects at the right time…

Most of us advertise to one degree or another. We do newspaper and/or magazine print advertising, direct mail, email, posters and point-of-sale (POS) displays, including coupons; some even do radio and television advertising. Of course, StrandVision customers’ digital signs are also advertising tools.

The financial folks tend to look at advertising as an expense, but it’s not. Advertising is an investment in near-term and longer-term sales. For that reason, tough times or not, it makes sense to advertise. Having said that, reality is reality and with shrinking revenues, budgets have to be trimmed.

That’s why it’s important to look closely at your advertising spend to make sure that you’re getting a return that’s appropriate for the expenditure – a return that makes it an investment. Radio, TV and even print advertising can be expensive and hard to track. Direct mail and email is less expensive and can be easier to track if you insert unique response codes into the promotions and track the source of the leads as they come in.

For most companies, advertising should become more strategic during hard times. It has to deliver, so, rather than just promoting the company or the brand, every ad should have a call to action – an expected outcome that customers can act on. Generally that means – buy something! Tactical advertising is more effective the closer it is to the actual point of sale. That’s why coupons are effective – customers have to come to the point of sale to redeem them.

Actual POS promotions, and I include digital signage in that category, can be the most tactical form of advertising. Think about it. POS digital signage reaches customers who are predisposed to buy from you (let’s face it, they’ve already made the first buying decision by entering your store) and they are likely to be interested in items related to the product that drove them into the store in the first place.

Your job is to develop a compelling offer that makes them aware of other buying opportunities and entices them to act. In digital signage this process is helped by attractively designed, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand and easy-to-act-on promotions – it can even include sponsored advertising by your suppliers. Digital signage gives you the opportunity to offer in-store and limited-time promotions, minimum purchase discount bundles, and other offers that lead to immediate action. Coupling these with in-store audio announcements can be particularly effective.

This type of POS promotion enables you to get incremental sales, promote seasonal, special purchase or even slow-moving items. Customers feel good because they have gotten a bargain and you feel good because you have an additional sale.

So, don’t give up on advertising – just make it work harder. You should still use traditional advertising to bring people into your store or service business. But don’t underestimate the power of your digital signage as a POS tool to add a few more items to the shopping cart.