What happens to your response rates if you’re marketing and advertising, and a terrorist attack hits the United States?
On the minds of many are the terror attacks being conducted by Islamic radicals.
ISIS, Al Qaeda and all their affiliates hold to an Islamic doctrine of violence, destruction, and death.
As long as they have an ideology to create a caliphate, to impose Sharia law, and to usher in the Apocalypse according to Islamic theology, Western civilization is not safe.
So, what will be the impact on your marketing and advertising if another terrorist attack takes place in the United States?
We’ve seen Fort Hood, we’ve seen Boston, and of course we’ve seen 9/11.
And we’ve seen smaller terrorist attacks and attempts as well.
Here are some lessons:

  1. If it’s a frightful, major terrorist attack – as we saw with the World Trade Center, and the horrific drama of the planes crashing – you can expect 5-10 days of dramatic decrease in response. You’re response rates will be impacted. There’s no getting around that the marketplace will be completely distracted, with eyes on the terrorist attack.
  2. If the event is more localized, you can expect to see a downturn in response rates within the local area, as the media attention highlights what is happening. Nationally, the impact will be minor, and less than 2 days. Locally, 5-10 days.

So the lessons? The lessons over time, whether it’s a terrorist attack, a spaceship exploding, a major invasion of a foreign country… whatever the event, is that there will be a decrease in response.
That means, to the extent that you can, pull back on your marketing to save money. It’s easy to pull TV and radio commercials, stop banner and Facebook ads, and stop your email. It’s more difficult to control direct mail, but you should respond as quickly as you can.
Oftentimes when there’s a major area of destruction, such as when hurricanes hit the south, we will suppress our marketing of mail and other media in that geographic area. This saves our response and increases profitability for our clients.
Don’t be swayed by the events of the time without looking at what’s going on with your marketing. These events will impact your bottom line.
One final note: To the extent possible and appropriate, to recognize an event and make your marketing more “newsworthy” will increase response.
For example, I had a client change their marketing headline to recognize the Ebola scare, and that increased their response.
The marketing reality is, that even in times that are horrific, your response rates will be restored in less than 12 days. And, if you act quickly, you can make sure you put your marketing on hold until things have returned to normal.
There are some exceptions to this general rule. Sales that will rise immediately after a terrorist attack include gun sales, survival food, and other related products.
What do you think? Email me at craig@cdmginc.com.