February 07, 2013
Advertising Is Like Exercise
Here's what the ROI monkeys don't understand about advertising. They think you can advertise today and measure the results tomorrow. It doesn't work that way.
Advertising is like exercise.
If you're not used to running, and you run 5 miles today, you will not be stronger or healthier or feel better tomorrow. Or next week. As a matter of fact, you'll probably feel like crap.
But if you run 5 miles every day, next year you probably will be stronger, and healthier, and feel better.
That's also how advertising works.
If you advertise today, your business is not going to suddenly be successful tomorrow or next week. But if you advertise every day, next year your business probably will get better, and healthier, and stronger.
Why do you think a can of Coca-Cola is worth 50¢ more than a can of Safeway cola? It's not because of the Coke ad you saw last night or last week. It's the ones you've seen for your entire life.
Notice I said "probably." There are no guarantees. Just like exercise, sometimes advertising backfires. You can take off on a 5 mile run and have a heart attack after 10 minutes. Or you could run for a year and wind up with a gimpy knee. You never know.
Similarly, you could advertise for a year and end up with nothing but a one-way ticket to unemploymentland.
It's all about likelihoods and probabilities.
If you look at the leading brands in mainstream consumer products and services categories, the likelihood is that they have one thing in common. They advertise, and they do it a lot.
Does this mean that in all consumer products categories advertising is a surefire road to success? No.
But absence of it is a pretty reliable road to failure.