Election campaign season starts tomorrow and for all of us this means we’d be
swimming drowning in an unprecedented sea of political campaign advertising across every possible channel.
With advertising spend projected to be at astronomical levels given the intensity of the contest, for brands (and anyone involved in any sort of marketing), there’s an even bigger concern on what the increased noise in the advertising landscape means for campaign planning. Should you simply avoid and stay silent? – or figure out a way to rise above and still get your messages across? Should you try to take advantage of the season? What are the implications of the increased saturation on the cost of digital advertising and the attendant risks of overspending on advertising budgets?
The short answer is that election season doesn’t mean your marketing activities go on sabbatical, especially since Q4 is such a high growth season for many businesses. So, what can the marketing community do to overcome the challenges that arise during an election campaign cycle?
Here are three of my top tips to help brand marketers cut through the noise in the 2022 election season.
- Think like a politician: Okay i’ll admit, a part of me wrote this entire article just so I could have an excuse to say ‘think like a politician.’ But, politicians are indeed experts at breaking large audiences into cohorts tapping into their unique segment emotions and delivering dedicated messages that appeal to them. An election year is as good a time as any for brand custodians to remind themselves that unlike the glove in the OJ Simpson trial, one message doesn’t fit all users. By digging deeper into audience segmentation and needs, brands can better develop dedicated messages to appeal to unique groups. Getting to know your consumers like politicians know their supporters and creating content that empowers and compels them to be advocates for your brand is a strong first step to keeping your head above water in a crowded advertising landscape.
- Budget now for higher costs and work quickly to optimize campaigns: As the price for consumers’ attention rises, the best thing marketers can do is plan ahead and incorporate the projected rising costs into their advertising budgets. Everything goes up in election season: especially channels with limited inventory like TV, billboards and radio. As a result, smart marketers would opt to focus their advertising efforts on digital platforms where ad inventory can increase to support the additional demand and campaigns can be optimized to get better returns.
- Leverage election cycle fatigue: With election ads being largely uninspired campaign advertising fatigue should set in rather rapidly. Consumers with election cycle fatigue who are tired of being constantly inundated with divisive political messaging will then show more openness to alternative content, which creates the perfect opportunity for marketers to position their brand messaging as a respite from the political chatter. This presents a fantastic opportunity for savvy brands to create high-quality (if not slightly trolling) content that excites or at least amuses the audience.
The election season will likely transform an already competitive advertising landscape into an even more intense battle for consumers’ attention. The good news is that for forward-thinking, strategic marketers, there are effective ways to overcome those challenges and even turn them into opportunities. Brands that consider sharing their messages through new, non-mainstream channels and create marketing strategies rooted in high-quality content may find the sweet spot as consumers start looking for a reprieve from the divisiveness of election season.
Ultimately, the season is not without its upside: I’ve found that one big benefit of the election cycle is there is more attention on advertising spend than usual, which, from a marketing perspective, provides valuable data and insights for marketers to leverage for their own brands. Good luck to all!