83% of Local Businesses Have Revamped Their Marketing Strategy in Light of Pandemic, Viamedia Study Finds

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New Research Reveals New Opportunities for Local US Business Owners to Renew Advertising

Despite the economic downturn wrought by COVID-19, over 75% of local US businesses have remained open during the pandemic — with many looking to adopt effective, fresh marketing and advertising strategies, according to a recent study by Viamedia, the television industry’s largest independent local cross media management company.

Based off US responses of Viamedia small business customers and local agencies nationwide, the results indicate a clear drive by businesses to adapt rather than settle:

  • 83% of companies have changed their marketing tactics in response to the pandemic;
  • 46% are offering incentives and promotions to drive sales and continue operations during this time.

Viamedia’s in-depth research study, ‘How Can We Help Through the Pandemic,’ received survey results from a statistically relevant sample of business owners across the US, with 59% of responses coming from local business owners and 29% from advertising agencies on behalf of businesses. The survey was conducted between May 15 and May 27, 2020, as a means of investigating challenges facing businesses and producing data that could provide a critical roadmap of demand by local advertisers.

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“Local businesses are the backbone of the American economy, so it was important that we had deep insight into their struggles, hopes and concerns,” said Becky Jones, Chief Marketing and People Officer at Viamedia. “During this pivotal time, Viamedia can help utilize its digital and cable TV advertising pathways by leveraging the critical data from this survey to help businesses connect with their local communities—now and beyond the crisis. Hopefully the insights provided by the findings can help businesses and agencies alike in formulating actionable strategies for a post-pandemic environment.”

Many respondents remained optimistic about the “post pandemic” future; the report uncovered three common trends shaping local businesses’ marketing plans:

  • Stability: 36% felt their business would be the same as it was pre-pandemic; 9% planned to expand while 10% planned to push more business online in lieu of in-person transactions.
  • Continued Investment in Marketing: In a promising trend, 40% of respondents—from various industries including auto, furniture, healthcare, non-profits, retail, real estate, and entertainment among others—reported an annual marketing budget of at least $75,000 — 39% of which was allocated to advertising.
  • Intent to Advertise: In another optimistic sign, business owners indicated a continued need for advertising, with 45% looking for creative incentives for advertising, and 28% wanting tips and insights to improve the effectiveness of their marketing.

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“The survey results clearly indicate that the prospects for advertising can be strong despite some conventional wisdom,” Jones added. “For many respondents, the need to power through the pandemic far outweighs the anxiety. And as we’ve experienced in the past, businesses that take the courageous path to advertise during a crisis often find great success on the other end. As Viamedia continues to bridge the gap between linear and digital advertising, we can provide local business owners key placements that will help them revitalize the economy one business and one community at a time.”

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