Every other year, an influx of political advertising hits the media landscape. Local video (mostly TV and cable) is the biggest channel for political advertising as it gets the message out fast in specific geographies. It is also a primary media channel for many retailers and local advertisers. The mid-term years can have mild to moderate impact, whereas the presidential years tend to put much more pressure on local station inventory. This year, with Covid-19, an economic slump, and the movement for racial justice, some media companies are being cautious about some of the advertising they will air. Despite this, political ads are in full swing and local stations in key states are making up for the tremendous dent that the effects of Covid-19 have put in their revenue. This pressure impacts all media decisions — it is like the trickle-down theory in media spending during these times.
Is there any hope for maintaining continuity of messaging in this kind of environment? In fact, there are ways to navigate the chaos and emerge not just unscathed but positioned for success.
Local markets feel the most impact during peak political campaign season. Not only do local stations adjust pricing in anticipation, they must also legally abide by a set of rules and regulations that can, in turn, have a major effect on available inventory and jolt rate structure. All this chaos can result in increased costs, displacement of brand advertising, and disruption for shorter promotional flights as political ads become priority.
You’re not helpless, though. Savvy media investment teams can help you outsmart the local media jungle. Here are three quick tips:
1) Know the market. And we mean really, really understand it at a local level. Localized understanding of every designated market area (DMA) is critical to successful negotiations. Stations in swing states may be under different competitive pressures than those in solid red or blue states, for example.
2) Plan ahead. A year ahead, if possible. Political cycles will always have some level of impact on the local marketplace. Marketers should consider the implications that it could have on their business and plan early. Your media agency should be working with you far in advance of election season to put a plan in place.
3) Blaze new content trails. Incorporate streaming video and audio into your mix. This allows further reach and access to inventory not yet affected by FCC rules and regulations.
RPA is an agency that helps drive business growth through PeopleFirst Marketing. Therefore, our perspective on these media-saturated cycles starts with understanding where people are, what their needs are, and what they’re looking for when they tune in to their content of choice. When it comes to keeping your brand above water during election season,there’s no substitute for localized intelligence and early planning.
If you found this interesting and would like to receive email updates when we share thinking on People First Marketing, sign up here. (We love this stuff.)