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  • Bob Hoffman


Here’s what the ROI guys don’t understand about advertising. They think you can advertise today and measure the results tomorrow. It doesn't work like that. 

If you’re not used to running, and you run five miles today, you will not be stronger or healthier or feel better tomorrow. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably feel like crap. But if you run 5 miles every day, next year at this time 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 25¢ 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 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 all 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 bankruptcy court. You never know. It’s all about likelihoods and probabilities.


If you look at the leading brands in mainstream categories, the likelihood is that they have one thing in common -- they advertise, and they do a lot of it. Does this mean that advertising is a surefire road to success? No. But absence of it is a pretty reliable road to failure.

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