What happens when you stop advertising?

Picture this: You’re riding your bike on a beautiful sunny day, wind blowing through your hair, not a single cloud in the sky. Everything’s going great, so you decide to take a break from pedaling for a while. You’re just coasting along, but pretty soon the bike starts to slow down, and before you know it, you’ve come to a complete stop.

In the business world, that ride is your success as a company, and those pedals are advertising. To keep having a smooth and steady ride, you have to keep pedaling.

Advertising is critical in achieving top-of-mind awareness (TOMA), and TOMA is critical to the overall success of your business. Through great advertising, you can influence which company customers think of first when faced with a purchase decision. So, for instance, you’re going to the store to pick up some toothpaste. Which brand did you immediately just think of? That’s TOMA. And that brand didn’t become the first one you thought of without advertising.

You may be thinking that you’ve done enough advertising that your customers won’t forget about you, so you can scale back to save a couple bucks. And while that may be true at first, eventually your brand becomes forgotten and replaced. See, while you’re taking a break from the advertising world, your competitors are still pushing their brands and slowly but surely becoming the first one your customers think of. And just like pedaling a bike, it takes a while to get back up and going as quickly as you were before.

In case you’re skeptical, here’s a real story from the state of Colorado. In 1993, Colorado cut funding to its tourism marketing department. By the summer of 1994, just one year later, the state that once held the 1st place spot for summer resort tourism dropped to 17th. Within two years, Colorado lost 30% of its market share in overall US tourism. So, why did this happen? Because when you stop advertising, you lose TOMA. It’s easy to forget things when you aren’t being reminded of them.

According to a study done by Thomas Ebbinghaus, the brain only remembers what it categorizes as important. In fact, people forget 75% of things after just one week, and 95% of things after four weeks. This means that advertising has to be creative and important enough to be remembered and consistent enough to remind people of your brand in case they did forget.

So, don’t take your feet off the pedals. They’re imperative to a successful ride.

Sources: https://www.visitcornwall.com/sites/default/files/generic_files/What%20happens%20when%20you%20stop%20marketing_The_Rise_and_Fall_of_Colorado_Tourism.pdf, https://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/the-ebbinghaus-curve-of-forgetting

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