The Advertising Downturn and Other Thoughts

Ad spending may be down (print ads in particular), but there are still those who believe in advertising. A friend of mine who is a business owner expressed his belief early this year, recalling the blunt statement of a Coca-Cola executive (paraphrased):

“When I advertise, my sales go up. When I don’t advertise, my sales go down.”

That seems like a no-brainer for a mega brand such as Coca-Cola. Even in leaner times they surely have a gargantuan advertising budget.

But Coca-Cola was also bullish on advertising in its early days when the fledgling soft drink company painted farmers’ barns at no charge throughout the South. All re-painted barns prominently displayed the Coca-Cola name in bright red.

It’s important to remember that advertising is a tactic, not marketing itself or a marketing strategy. What is marketing? I like Jay Conrad Levinson’s definition:

“Marketing is everything you do to promote your business, from the moment you conceive it to the point at which customers buy your product [or service].”

Everything does mean everything, from business cards to emails to sponsoring events.

So you can advertise during a recession – or not. It depends on who you need to reach, your goals, your budget, and – this can be the tricky part – tracking results.

But never stall or stop marketing. That can be deadly.


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