Now is not the time to stop marketing.

That’s the message delivered to the radio industry during a Friday webinar hosted by Charlie Sislen, a partner at Annapolis, MD-based Research Director, Inc., which provides data, research and marketing services.

“Needless to say, we are in uncertain times,” Sislen said, “and advertising is more important than ever… Those that continue to market and advertise through tough times, and times of uncertainty, will be stronger than those that don’t advertise [until] the crisis is over — and this crisis will be over.”

Sislen said it’s a time for sales professionals to push radio’s flexibility, as well as its strength as an effective marketing outlet during tough economic times. The overriding message: The U.S. economy will indeed make a comeback. And when it does, opportunity will be waiting — which means preparation will be required.

“Who would have thought four weeks ago that this microscopic virus would upend our society and our economy?” he asked. “The world will continue. And those that advertise, and those that market through these uncertainties, will have a tremendous advantage over those that lose their brand identity.”

Sislen cited a prescient Forbes article published in September called “When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising,” which emphasizes four key points.

Among them:

  • When a recession hits, the advertising drop-off means less competition — and enhances the effectiveness of your message.
  • Brands that advertise during a downturn send a message of confidence and a belief in the future.
  • The supply-and-demand nature of advertising means that as other marketers exit during a recession, ad rates will go down. Those lower rates, of course, represent an opportunity for an advertiser to get more bang for their buck.
  • When marketers cut back on ad spending, they lose brand awareness — which can’t simply be ramped up by the resumption of spending once the economy is restored.

“This is a phrase I’ve used for the last 40 years I’ve been in the business,” Sislen said, “but it really is essential: ‘When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.’ This message has to get to your advertisers… This is the time that people need to advertise.”