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Advertising is Crucial to the Survival of Your Business, Especially for Small Businesses


The study also found that bigger growing brands tend to continue to grow after advertising stops for one to two years, whereas the sales trend quickly reverses for small growing brands. Stability for a year or so after a stop is common, which suggests there may be a ‘safe’ period where brands can cut advertising without severe consequences. While the evidence suggests nothing good comes of it, stopping advertising is not necessarily bad for sales.


The findings of this study have significant implications for businesses. It is tempting for businesses to withdraw their advertising budget for a boost in profits, but doing so risks putting the brand on a downward sales trajectory. Without refreshment, mental availability erodes. Silent periods extend the gap between consumers making a category purchase and them last seeing brand advertising. In this gap, they may be nudged by a competitor’s advertising, or the brand's critical memory-based linkages will erode, and so they are less likely to think about the brand, especially if they are a light buyer. And since light brand buyers are the biggest group of any brand’s customer base and are the most important group for brand growth, the time off-air could prove costly, particularly for smaller brands.

In conclusion, advertising is not just important, but crucial to business survival. The findings of the study by Gelzinis et al. make it clear that businesses should not stop advertising for long periods if they want to maintain or grow their sales. Small businesses, in particular, suffer more from the effects of not advertising. Therefore, businesses should invest in advertising to ensure that their brand stays relevant, top of mind, and ultimately, successful.






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Ehrenberg-Bass, University of South Australia.  Adam Gelzinis, Rachel Kennedy, Virginia Beal, Nicole Hartnett and Bryon Sharp, “What happens to sales when brands stop advertising for long periods”,