By Selina Martin, Head of Commercial, Active International

We have now experienced the enormous uncertainty these turbulent times have brought in the market and unfortunately, continue to bring.  Many brands have had no choice but to shred their plans for 2020 and be as agile as possible, forced to shift their focus towards cashflow preservation. Often marketing budgets are first to be cut as they seek to yield noticeable returns quickly.

But what happens when brands stop advertising can be even more concerning than the pandemic itself. Economist Peter Field, backed by numerous studies, has warned that while cutting ad budgets is a temporary fix to a short-term deficit, it could put brands at a significant competitive disadvantage during the recovery period.

Consumer share of mind is hard to recoup

Cutting back on media and marketing spend will assist with saving money in the short-term.  However, over time brands will lose their share of the market and risk the long-term brand equity they have worked so hard to achieve. Share of voice deterioration can impact sales making the path to recovery even more difficult.

Brands who choose to freeze their activity, worrying about the short-term effects rather than the long-term recovery, have options to reconsider. Knowing brand-building leads to long-term profitability, should marketing be considered essential?

Time to get creative and achieve more with less

Maybe it is time for marketers to get creative, think outside the box and stop shrinking budgets. There is a way you can continue your marketing campaigns with no cash investment. Brands can maintain an advertising presence and gain market share at a time their competitors are silent. How can this even be possible?

Turn existing assets into an advertising campaign

At Active our core business is based on one fundamental – we help clients achieve more. We have been helping businesses not only survive during the pandemic, but also prepare them to recover faster post-Covid.

Marketers have an alternative; to extract more value out of their media spend and achieve more in the most challenging economic environment.

In other words, we let clients use their products (excess stock or first line product), services or assets to fund their advertising campaign. Marketers can fund their campaigns using existing assets, not requiring budget approval or investment. The marketing campaign will run as planned by the media agency, an activity that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Too good to be true? Well it isn’t.

A double win

Businesses benefit by moving some extra, obsolete or unwanted stock, whilst at the same time continuing to build brand awareness and improve their balance sheets.

Using assets to fund a media campaign is not new, however not often considered as it is misperceived as complex. The pandemic has commercially challenged brands and we see them being forced to think differently. Now more than ever retailers need to become agile in their approach, innovate the way they operate, and work smarter.

We partner with our clients’ media agencies and top up their budgets or keep the budgets whole if it’s at risk of cuts. There hasn’t been a better time to try something new.

In the case of excess stock, this is a clever move.  Failure to turn over the unwanted stock and reinvest in the next sales cycle can be detrimental. Retailers who have seen the value in our media-based operations are able to free up the financial burden of excess stock, or first line products, into what they really need – better marketing and consumer experience to prepare for the next sales cycle.

ROI guaranteed

Even for those brands without excess stock worries, who continue to perform well, we can still help them achieve more in a different way. If retailers are seeking to drive new business with new customers and keep up with ever-changing consumer behaviour. or if they are simply keen to gain measurable and additional ROI from their marketing spend, Active has the right solution.

To achieve the best results, we work with our client’s media agency to execute the pre-agreed strategy and plan. Active’s involvement doesn’t affect the quality/price of the media they buy. The result? Additional ROI is guaranteed, and new incremental sales delivered.

“We are in a strong position to assist clients during this pandemic. We already have helped brands heavily affected to continue their marketing plans, sustain or even increase market share with the lack of competition and prepare them for a long-term profitability and recovery” commented Cameron Swan, Group Managing Director.

With change comes opportunity.  There are plenty of options for smart retailers who seek a creative use of their existing assets to sustain, build and grow their business, and ensure they are ready for the post-COVID-19 era.