June '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 1 3 MONEY TO SPEND, GROWING EMPLOYMENT If you had no money going into the pan- demic, you came out with some. If you had a little going in, you came out with a lot. Don't believe me? Check out Figure 1: the key here is the words "disposable personal income." In other words, money we can spend on things we want. The crash in March 2020 affected millions and shuttered multiple indus- tries. In 2021, employment figures show a strong recovery, and forecasted models all indicate our best days are ahead of us (Figure 2). As unemployment trends down, labor force participation is trending up. People are getting back to work and will have money to spend beyond staples like food and shelter. They can start getting back to their lives again. One great way to fore- cast expected rise in consumer demand is to see what the advertising markets are doing. THE AD MARKET IS WAKING UP It's a common problem for marketing and sales teams that when business goes down, so does the marketing budget. Belts get tightened. Things like travel and events get cut. Businesses stop spending money and focus on essential spending like keep- ing the lights on and retaining as many employees as possible. Michael Nathanson of MoffetNathanson believes advertisers will spend the most money they have since the late 1990s. He credits his indicators as TV, online video, search, and social media. Where will those dollars go? The inter- net (Figures 3 and 4, page 14). Any growth strategy that does not in- clude digital marketing is missing the boat. People want to get back into the world and they will be bringing little elec- tronic billboards with them called phones. WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING? Now that you are aware of what's going on, here's how to harness the dragon: get outside and reconnect with all your old customers. If 2020 was the year of inte- rior, 2021 is the year of exterior. What did the pandemic do to us? We had to avoid loved ones, we couldn't go out to eat, couldn't travel, couldn't gath- er in groups of 50, and we had to rely on digital versions of our favorite activities. As things start to show signs of recovery, we've found ways to see loved ones. We can go out to restaurants if we sit outside with plexiglass between us. We can go on road trips with our family. We've found ways to maintain some of our sanity. What's the last thing left? Gatherings. Humans are a social species — we want to be around each other. That means events. Events are poised to explode. That means concerts, festivals, little league tourna- ments, retail, tourism, and parties. So many parties. Bring your equipment with you to these events if you can. Got a vinyl cutter, Figure 1. At the time of writing, people have money to spend. The key here is the words "disposable personal in- come." (Figures courtesy Dana Curtis) Figure 2. In 2021, employment figures show a strong recovery, and forecasted models all indicate our best days are ahead of us.

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