Many times in my career I have heard advertisers say “I would like to just stop advertising, period, and see what happens.” But in my 28 years in advertising I never saw an advertiser really put it to the test until this year.
Sometime in September of 2007 one of our agency clients who owns a furniture store agreed to sell his store. The Store Owner continued to advertise at his usual rate of about 8% of sales up until November of that year. Expecting to change hands by the end of the year the Store Owner decided not to advertise for the last six weeks or so. Then, there were delays in the sale due to things like getting a lease signed and various other procedural obstacles. So the Store Owner and the Buyer agreed to an arrangement where the Buyer would work with Store Owner until they can close on the deal.
One thing lead to another and a year later the Store Owner was still operating the store exactly like he did for the previous 15 years at that location. He operated exactly the same except for one thing, the advertising. He didn’t do any. Well, almost none. With the exception of a few small black and white newspaper ads in August – November which represented less than about 10% of his normal budget, the Store Owner did no advertising for the previous eight months.
The result was a 42% drop in sales from the previous year. An interesting observation the Store Owner made was he noticed the first few months he stopped advertising his business continues to run strong and then began to taper off..
So there you go. But remember, all businesses are unique. That means if you stopped advertising, your results may be different. But if you are in the furniture business you may not want to try this.