Whether you live closer to South Bend or Fort Wayne, your local Indiana business needs to adjust to the "new normal" as industry reopens in the wake of the shelter-in-place order due to the pandemic.
Being a business owner has never been easy. Recent developments, however, have taken the difficulty level up a notch. Yesterday's tactics will not be good enough in a post-pandemic reality, where only the strong will survive. As of June 14, non-essential retail can only operate with strict social distancing rules in place. Indoor dining can only utilize 75% of their seating capacity.
The savvy Northern Indiana business owner will need to be aggressive in their battle for survival in this changing economic landscape. With that in mind, the smart focus will shift to liquidity, cash flow, and perhaps most importantly—marketing Return on Investment (ROI).
What is Marketing ROI?
Marketing ROI is how businesses attribute the success or failure of their advertising campaigns. The most common formula to calculate this universally key metric is by subtracting your total marketing dollars spent from your total revenue earned, then dividing by your total investment. That's the textbook definition, but since when has anything in a textbook been perfectly aligned with reality, especially the one we're operating in today?
Why Focus on Marketing ROI?
A big part of the "new normal" means customers are likely shifting even more of their purchasing habits to the digital experience. Even with Indiana businesses moving deeper into a phased reopening, consumers may be slow to move their purchasing habits back into the brick and mortar scene. Instead, digital options such as online ordering and contact-less delivery may continue to gain momentum. This purchasing shift means businesses need to pay closer attention to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) than ever before.
Online ordering and contact-less delivery
By focusing more closely on marketing ROI, you'll have a more updated and accurate view of where your dollars are resulting in the best rate of return. For example, if your web content still produces an optimal rate of return, you'll know that customers still aren't sure about shifting back to the in-person transaction. Conversely, if marketing ROI reveals a resurgence to in-store activity, you'll know to allocate more dollars in that direction.
Focusing on marketing ROI for the short-term will be key in this environment. Another key is to align your advertising with your customer's plight. Your business might be struggling to survive in the "new normal," but so are your customers. Let them know you feel their pain. Talk about how hard it is to homeschool children. Discuss the frustration of canceling summer vacation plans. By commiserating with your prospective buyers and loyal customers, you'll enhance your brand image, proving invaluable.
Northern Indiana Marketing Specifics
Identifying with your customer's struggles is certainly one way to attract business, but aligning your business as closely as possible to the local Northern Indiana area could be even more important.
Certain marketing channels are more effective in certain regions. For instance, radio stations tend to carry further in Northern Indiana because it has a flatter terrain. Therefore, marketing ROI on radio is greater in this region because of its reach.
According to a study commissioned by Westwood One, radio advertising—in general—is capable of producing a marketing ROI of 12:1. In other words, businesses are receiving an average of $12 in purchases from every $1 spent on radio ads. Do the math; that means $60,000 in revenue from just $5,000 invested.
To invest your radio ad dollars most effectively, focus on the radio stations that align best with your unique brand. For example, a sporting goods store would be wise to direct more of their investment spend toward stations that have active women who listen and have children who are involved in organized sports. If your target demographic is middle-aged or above, news-talk radio or classic hits stations may be the best choice. A pizza shop owner looking to encourage younger people for take-out or delivery might choose to aim for a more contemporary radio station.
What does the "new normal" look like for your business? Think carefully, focus on marketing ROI, and remain dogged in your tracking of buying and consumption trends. Be aggressive, but more importantly, be informed and spend wisely. Stay strong!