Feel like your 2016 Q4 tanked? Feel like retirement planning is just not working like it used to with your clients (or plan participants)? You are not alone! Looking back at the last quarter of 2016, you may be wondering why you saw a decrease in client meetings, sales, and other business activities. Take a page from the NFL playbook to blame the presidential elections.
In a recent article, Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s EVP of Media, stated that the league’s TV ratings had experienced a post-election rebound after a dismal beginning to the season. Weeks 1-9 of the season saw viewership decline 14% but both NBC and CBS saw a significant bump immediately after the elections (11% and 9% respectively). Viewership in weeks 10-17 was off only 1% from the 2015 season. Not all of the NFL’s prime spots have performed well this year (Monday Night Football viewership dropped 11% from 2015).
During the opening weeks, many armchair quarterbacks began sharing their economic and social analysis all over social media with explanations ranging from the elections, to Colin Kaepernick to boring games but in the end, it just might have been the unsavory taste of a wretched election campaign in our mouths.
Before we jump to conclusions, do we see similar patterns in other industries? Yes, the retail sector found consumers tepid going into the holiday shopping season, a time of year most retailers depend on. National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay said in an October article in Fortune, “Everywhere you turn — whether you’re picking up a newspaper or watching television — political advertisements are taking up ad space that retailers typically use to get holiday shopping on the minds of consumers across the country.” Polls by the NRF found 25% of consumers saying the elections will affect their spending and 43% saying they were being more cautious with spending because of election uncertainty. Although the retail sector is known for spreading around the blame in bad times, there does seem to be some correlation, particularly when you consider the many retailers trying to get a word in edge-ways during an election season.
As you look back at your business, did you find it difficult engaging clients during 2016? Did your own marketing and social media engagement get drowned out by the waves of political ads and acrimonious social media posts? Maybe it’s time to put 2016 behind you and look to better days in 2017. The post-election markets have done well, life is returning to normal (for those who didn’t move to Canada) and 2017 has all the New Year promises of hope and fresh beginnings. So here’s to a glass-half-full! Oh, and enjoy the rest of the NFL season…go Hawks!