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  • Bob Hoffman


Loudmouth marketing weasels like me are always going off on the need for advertisers to abandon their addiction to short term-ism and focus their attention on the long term imperative of building their brands.


There is plenty of evidence that in the long run marketers are better served if their budgets are more weighted toward brand-building advertising and less weighted toward short-term promotional (so-called "performance") advertising.

The problem with this is that for a great many marketers surviving this week is a more compelling issue than the promise of a magnificent brand three years from now. Many businesses simply can't afford to do advertising that doesn't deliver instant returns.

This is not just an unpleasant theory of business, it is a fact of life. Short term and long term imperatives are not always aligned. There are many things that are short-term necessities that are harmful in the long term. 

The world would be a much happier, more reasonable place if all the things we are compelled to do today could conform to what we'd like for tomorrow. Sadly, the world doesn't always work that way. We don't want to be complicit in the burning of fossil fuels, but we have to get to work.

Tactics can often be a matter of life and death, while strategy can be a luxury. As Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a strategy until they get hit."

Having spent centuries in the ad business, one thing I learned is that when it's all on the line, the tactical always drives out the strategic. This is not only true in business -- it is true in life. When decisions have to be made, surviving today always trumps rainbows tomorrow. 

One of the most powerful and unrecognized benefits of a successful brand is the financial wherewithal to support both tactical and strategic advertising. Many businesses don't have the means to do this.

Strategy is the great advantage of the wealthy.

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