Today: A “last minute club” for ad space?

 > The Situation:
Many of us believe that recessions are at least partially media driven. I started my career as a newspaper journalist and I know that bad news sells papers. (In fact, a bad news day was called a “good news” day.) Anyway. Let’s say that this is at least partially true. Then. Let’s ask the question, “what do you do about it?” In the case of realtor Kim Johannsen, who I told you about recently, the answer is creating his own media backlash. How? By writing a regular column on “the truth about buying and selling real estate in a down economy,” in his local paper The Cowichan Valley Citizen. I’m going to write another article on the content of Kim’s columns (eye opening, so watch for it), but today I want to focus on buying media during a recession. Ready? Read on.

 > The Idea:
The idea is leveraging your advertising investments. Kim approached The Citizen and negotiated an ad rate of 50% for his column. Not bad. That means for every dollar he spends, he earns two dollars in value. When Kim told me about his program during a workshop I conducted for business owners, I opened the floor to discussion. We talked about the possibility of negotiating even greater discounts—and I offered a suggestion that I want to share with you. During the last “great recession” in the 80’s, I urged seminar participants and my marketing/sales clients to go to their media outlets, and let them know that when they are down to “the last minute” and want to get air time or newspaper space filled—that they would be prepared to buy. At a steep discount of course.

 > The Risk:

Why does this work—and why is it a win-win for both parties? Because radio and television stations, and newspapers, need advertisers in order to look like they’re going strong. And. If today’s inventory of air time and newspaper space isn’t sold, it’s value drops to zero tomorrow. So. The situation presents us with a great opportunity. But. It’s dangerous to grind the media so heavily that you are seen as taking unfair advantage—which can result in poor ad placements and other “passive aggressive” responses. As always (obviously), we need to operate on a win-win basis so we develop and maintain great relationships.

 > The Reward:

Buying ad space for as low as one-third its going rate (for example) gives you tremendous leverage. And don’t think you can’t do it.

 > The Call to Action:

Think of this in terms of a “last minute club” in the travel business. Cruise ships and airlines don’t want to sail and fly with empty berths and seats. They are delighted to sell them to people who can pack up and go at a moment’s notice—at discounts up to two-thirds and sometimes more! Same idea. Just have your (ad) bag packed in advance—and you’re ready to go. Bon voyage.

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