Navigating the Local Ad Marketplace During the Pandemic: What Do Local Sellers Need to Do Now?

2020 US Ad Forecast

This week BIA’s Thomas Buono (CEO and Founder) and Rick Ducey (Managing Director) were joined (virtually) by C. Lee Smith, President/CEO of SalesFuel and Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chairman of C-Suite Network and Primetime Television & Podcast Host in a webinar to discuss how local advertising sellers can navigate the local ad marketplace during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A large portion of the webinar was devoted to what local media sellers need to do now. Ducey, Smith and Hayzlett discussed three different verticals where there is still activity happening: Financial Services, Home Improvement, and Legal Services.

Financial Services (banks/credit unions, investment brokers, mortgage companies, financial advisors, check cashing services/payday loans)

Financial businesses need to communicate with customers now. Consumers are adjusting their plans based on the new economic outlook. For financial advertisers “Now is the time for action; now is not the time for going into hiding and waiting this out, so it is really important that you’re out there. This is a great opportunity for financial businesses to gain some market share,” according to Smith. “…if they’ve got the money now is the time to be out there, be present and be a calming influence on people while others are sitting on the sidelines.”

Home Improvement (high-speed broadband/5G wireless, home security services, fence contractors, replacement windows, appliance service and repair, lawn and garden supply stores, Plumbers/HVAC, Home Centers)

Home Improvement businesses need to communicate with customers that they are operating and serving their communities safely. “When people invite strangers into their homes right now they want to know that they are following all of the CDC guidelines, that they’re practicing social distancing, that they’re covering their shoes, that they’re wearing gloves and facemasks, that sort of thing,” according to Smith. Home Improvement businesses need to communicate to customers that “They are safe and they will make your home safer.”

Hayzlett makes the point that businesses need to stay visible during the crisis, “If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind,” and eventually there will be a recovery.

Legal Services (Contractual disputes, business disruption insurance disputes, employment law, business and personal bankruptcy, succession planning, estate planning, divorce)

Ducey, Smith and Hayzlett said the third vertical might surprise people, but that during the crisis Legal Services are booming. Ducey points out that Legal Services relies heavily on traditional media, with 2/3 of ad spend going to traditional formats. Buono pointed out that in many markets Legal Services spend heavily on Out of Home marketing, and they will need to shift those dollars to media that can reach consumers now.

“I know a lot of folks that sell television might be thinking ‘You can’t turn on Judge Judy without seeing a bunch of ads for personal injury attorneys’,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of other subcategories of Legal Services now that are booming and that you need to be out in the market letting them know who the best lawyer is for their particular practice and their particular discipline beyond personal injury attorneys. So there’s great opportunity to expand and diversify your legal advertising regardless of the media you are, but especially on television.”

According to Smith, if your competitors are pulling back, cutting sales staff, etc. that now is the time to go after their accounts and show them how you can serve them better than their previous provider.

Hayzlett finished with the advice to:

  • Keep your customers engaged.
  • Keep your focus.
  • Keep cash flowing.
  • Keep continuity.
  • Keep your spirit.

Hear more of Hayzlett’s economic commentary here and what he terms his “five keeps” here.

Download a Complimentary Report from SalesFuel

SalesFuel is offering a complimentary report entitled “Selling Media During the Pandemic.” Discover four tactics to help you stay focused and productive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More on COVID-19 and Local Advertising

For more on how COVID-19 may impact local advertising, check out Thomas Buono’s blog post on BIA’s Assessment of the Current Outlook for Local Advertising in the U.S.

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