Kansas City Business in 2020

EAG, January 8, 2020

Buckle up. It may be bumpy.

The EAG account team is wrapping up 2020 marketing and advertising planning for our clients. Although 2019 was a sales record-breaking year for many Kansas City companies, the 2020 outlook is a bit cloudy. We’re not predicting doom and gloom, just warning of a fog setting in.

Here are what Kansas City business owners and our staff of expert marketers is saying about taking on 2020. Cue the music, “Auld Lang Syne.”

OK Boomer
Stop picking on millennials and their preference for brands with a cause and their refusal to embrace the status quo. Older millennials are now married, having children and buying homes. From a marketing perspective, they are moving into the mainstream. Boomer, beware. They’re doing it in force and with passion. We’re loving millennials.

Election Year Uncertainty
EAG Advertising & Marketing has experienced four major elections cycles during our 17 years in business. This one, our fifth, has all the signs we’ve seen in the previous presidential election years.

Our clients’ (business owners) spending habits will show signs of caution until the morning after Election Day. Then most business owners will wake up, dust themselves off and march on. Cycles are for elections. Business owners keep on keeping on regardless of who is in office.

Election Year Media
Politics will consume every media channel available. Digital, broadcast, outdoor, your uncle’s hat and any other space that can display a message will carry advertisements from candidates with DEEP pockets. This will severely limit the availability of some media, like billboards and television time. All channels will see rising prices as demand outstrips supply. If your business relies on media promotion, buy early.

Kansas City Media
Magazine wars will heat up as In Kansas City and Kansas City Magazine become the dominant remaining publications with a viable print audience. Both are good, but can Kansas City support two publications? Probably so.

The radio and television landscape remain fairly constant, and changes in ownership haven’t had much impact on the station lineups. Like all media in 2020, political ads will dominate, inventory will be low and the cost high.

Outdoor advertising opportunities are shifting in Kansas City and around the nation. Large, urban billboards are disappearing as communities become more focused on landscape aesthetics. To replace disappearing billboards, new advertising opportunities are appearing in the form of metropolitan kiosks, many with interactive technologies. These new channels present a great opportunity to engage with consumers on a more targeted, more intimate level.

Workforce Availability
With the nation at full employment, Kansas City is suffering from a labor shortage in many industries. Many businesses have surpassed their sales goals, but they simply can’t complete orders due to the limited workforce available. How long this will continue is anyone’s guess, but the shortage impacts the speed at which marketers throttle lead generation programs. There’s no sense in overflowing a sales pipeline if the work can’t be completed well and on time.

Recruiting Budgets Grow
More and more Kansas City business’s budgets are shifting to increase spending on workforce recruitment. Sometimes these funds come from the marketing budget, sometimes from the human resources budget. Regardless of the funding source, 2020 budgets must include an allocation for advertising in a very competitive workforce recruitment environment. Top talent is attracted to companies they’ve heard of and have a strong reputation in the market.

Social Media Advertising Limitations
Facebook has been under considerable fire for not better managing their platform when it comes to political advertising, consumer fraud and misleading content. Their reaction to this criticism has been to more closely monitor advertising messaging coming from all sources, including the small local businesses that depend heavily on Facebook ads. Watch closely as Facebook and the other paid advertising social channels continue to tighten their control on business advertising and build your creative and messaging accordingly.

Influencer Marketing
Get yourself a few thousand social media followers and you can become an influencer, paid to promote products and services you may have never used. The influencer marketing channel is growing exponentially, with some positive outcomes but just as many disappointments. Like any media in its infancy, proceed with caution. Influencer marketing is not a do-it-yourself advertising option for most businesses. Professional guidance from a neutral party is not only advised, it’s a necessity to portray and protect your brand.

Tariffs and Pricing
Tariffs and their impact on pricing are now accepted as a norm in business. Tariffs are put into effect, businesses increase prices and the end consumer bears the burden. This look-the-other-way mentality is wearing thin on the consumer side. For now, nobody wins when tariffs are put into place with little advance warning. In the future, there will be winners as aggressive businesses take advantage of an opportunity to gain market share by increasing productivity and absorbing some of these costs. Be prepared for market disruption due to the unpredictability of tariffs.

Content is Still King, Especially Video
For more than a decade, content has been king in the world of marketing. This is especially true in the digital channels we rely on in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Need to fix an electrical outlet or want to learn to play guitar? Go to YouTube and you are well on your way. Businesses that connect with customers through valuable content will win the war of customer engagement.

Now, Go Take On a New Decade
We’re not predicting doom and gloom at all. Sales projections are up, but the year will be filled with obstacles and uncertainty that are best tackled with a solid marketing plan in hand. Just remember, elections, labor shortages and tariffs shall pass, and Kansas City business goes on forever.

 

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