The 2020 holiday shopping season poses a do-or-die scenario for local businesses. To make it to 2021, they’ll need a thoughtful marketing strategy — and execution, said two marketing experts in a Tuesday webinar, “Helping Advertisers Prepare for a Very Corona Christmas.”
Small businesses have recovered a bit since the COVID-19 lockdown in March, and many plan to boost their advertising spending in the next six months, said Gordon Borrell, chief executive of Borrell Associates.
In August, 33% of the businesses surveyed said they were “doing just fine,” more than double the 15% that said so in March.
Businesses that said the current economic situation in the U.S. was poor for sustaining a small business had fallen from 73% in March to 48% in August. Yet, only 16% said the environment was “good to excellent.”
Businesses that said they would spend less on advertising and marketing fell from 52% in March to 27% in August. The number of companies that planned to keep their advertising budgets the same reversed those numbers from 28% in March to 52% in August. However, the August 2020 number was still lower than the 56% seen the same month in 2019.
The number of advertisers saying they would spend more than they currently do on social media was 30%, and 20% plan to spend more on search advertising, Borrell said.
“When we look at traditional media and digital media, it’s really unfair,” said Borrell.
“Because traditional forms of media tend to be expensive and digital seems to be cheap. That’s because digital is lumped into one large bucket. So search advertising could be one expense, social media could be another and targeted banners or email could be another. They’re all fairly small, but they add up. So, the alternative to radio might be targeted banner ads, an alternative to TV might be OTT. So, that’s what’s playing into advertisers minds.”
Still, out of 19 categories, radio was in a three-way tie at sixth place (with content marketing and banner ads), with 12% of advertisers saying they plan to increase their post-COVID spending. An additional 3% said they’d start buying ads on radio.
Asked about their current concerns related to advertising and marketing, approximately 19% of advertisers put budget and costs at the top, while 17% said they’re focused on new methods of advertising. Only 10% said they felt no need to advertise — meaning 90% feel advertising is important to some degree.
Overall, 81% of advertisers said they were buying both digital and non-digital inventory in their advertising campaigns. About 65% of the advertisers said they had been offered digital advertising by a traditional media sales representative, and 70% of those offered said they bought the package.
For the holiday season, 53% of consumers expect to spend about the same amount of money that they spent last year, said Greg Sterling, Vice President of Market Insights at Uberall.
About 29% expect to spend less money, 13% plan to spend more and 6% don’t plan on buying gifts this year. Approximately 32% of consumers said they plan to split shopping between online and stores, 30% said they will do most of their shopping online, and 27% said they would do all their shopping online. All but 10% said they would be shopping at least partly online.