A F-bomb that cost the business 300%

Late last year, a friend commented to me he was turning off his marketing for the month of December.  While I believe the time to invest more into your marketing is when your competitors are pulling back, thereby gaining market share, I was unable to convince this friend to continue to market over the Holiday period.

There are several examples of a business continuing to market despite their current sales, the current economy, and what the pundits on Finance TV tell you to do with your money today.  An extreme example of this is the Great Depression.  Two businesses which continued to market their products throughout the Great Depression and came out the other end as the market leader in their field is Kellogg’s and Quaker Oats.

So how did the Holidays treat my friend?  I followed up with this client in January to discover sales were so bad during the Holiday Season they were losing an employee (as the employee had not made enough money over the Holidays to justify staying with the company).  This isn’t out of the ordinary by any means.

First off, the number of times a prospect sees your advertisement before they purchase your product has been stated as quite a diverse number, from the 5-12 touches we typically hear, to 27 touches from a pretty comprehensive study several years ago to the Proctor and Gamble 2013 study which noted the number of touches it now takes to get a customer to respond is 90 (yes, as in ten less than one hundred).

Taking my friend’s business as an example, let’s use the 27 touches figure as this is a pretty comprehensive study in the Direct Marketing world.  Should my friend advertise in ValPak and Reach each month (so two touches per month), third grade mathematics would suggest it is going to take over a year before my friend begins to see results from his marketing efforts.

AND THIS is if his message is consistent.  Otherwise, the counting up to 27 times starts over.

This morning, while planning my day, I was glancing through a Guerilla Marketing book.  In it, the author notes that turning off marketing and then restarting it later tends to cost the business up to 300% in marketing costs to get the same prospects to respond in comparison to the “slow and steady wins the race” marketing of continuing to broadcast your message to your prospects.

In short, this, for my friend, may be a f-bomb that costs his business 300% in advertising.  While I feel for my friend, I must admit, as long as he wants to remain “just friends” rather than investing my service to build his business, similar problems will continue.