Turn the Lights On for Your Business During the Political Advertising Season

09.23.2016 Dan Glicksman3 min

The Effective Advertising Choice to Get You Off The Sidelines During Campaign Season

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There is a famous saying – that doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark – you know you’re doing it, but nobody else does. From August to November, many companies actually choose this as a way of doing business – and it all has to do with one thing that has captured the attention of the American populace at levels like nothing before it – the 2016 presidential election. With a projected $4.4 billion in political dollars being spent on just TV this year (up from $3.8 billion in 2012), many companies feel a heightened degree of validation to go to the sidelines – but is this the right move?

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way – why TV for political? Well first off, TV ads reach a slew of people, roughly 87% of people over the age of 18, according to an article by Derek Willis of the New York Times. No other medium even comes close, and stats like this probably strengthen your argument that television will work for your business.

But perhaps you are a regular Broadcast-only (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC networks) TV advertiser who has gone to the sidelines until the election passes. Your previous Broadcast TV advertising experience leading up to the election has been nothing short of turbulent and full of constant frustration – mainly because you have no idea if your ad will run or not. The chances of your buy being bumped by a political ad are pretty high – good luck if you have a time-sensitive promotion going on! Or maybe you’re fed up because you’ve also seen your ad run in between a multitude of political statements during the news – and likely feel your message has been tuned out. The scariest thing is, by the time the election passes, you are rolling the dice on about three weeks of a clean advertising window opportunity leading up to Black Friday. Pick your poison – sure feels like a no-win situation here, right?

Not quite.

Here are four very common mistakes made by broadcast-only TV advertisers:

1. You assume the Broadcast networks are the only gig in town. You may not realize that networks like USA, TBS, History, ESPN, NBC Sports, CNN, Lifetime and many others aren’t available to you because the broadcast networks didn’t present them. They didn’t present them because they can’t offer them. In fact, if you want ABC Family, you may think you can go to ABC for that – no can do. Who can? Call your local Cable provider’s advertising division (i.e. Cox Media). All of those channels you watch with great shows like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” – that’s who sells time on them.

2. You don’t question the ad advice you are receiving. No matter who you are hearing from, if reading this very article has become the first prompt for you to consider Cable TV during the political season, you are likely now a step closer to dropping a number or two from your “advertising experts contacts list.” Hello local cable advertising division, can I get some options?

3. You are overlooking an opportunity to go narrow with your audience. Cable TV offers a huge advantage in that you may be able to hone in on a specific audience that you’ve always wanted to reach. For example, maybe you are a food services or kitchenware company catering to “home cooks who like to feel like they are a pro.” Sure you can advertise on the local news – but undoubtedly you will reach a majority of people who would rather just “order in.” The other option is to target a specific program on Food Network where we know for a fact you are more apt to reach these home cook pros, and can typically do so with far more frequency with the same dollars that would’ve been spent on Broadcast TV.

4. You are overlooking an opportunity to go even more narrow with your audience. Depending on where your business is, your Cable advertising division may be able to offer you options to advertise in parts of your city rather than the entire city. So if you are a restaurant with a couple of locations and you’ve been buying Broadcast TV news all these years and spending a fortune with little results – you can stop screaming right now. Find out your local Cable TV options and specifically ask for a zone map.

Bottom line, don’t let the political window and past experiences with Broadcast TV scare you away from reaching out to your potential customers. In fact, there is no better time to give Cable TV advertising a try. With the holiday season quickly approaching, there is a great opportunity to get a jump on all the sideline-sitters.

You have options and now is the time to test them out – the light is now on, so wink away!

If you are a local business and want to know more about advertising on Cable TV, click here to contact Cox Media today.

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Dan Glicksman

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