what happens when you stop marketing

What Happens When You Stop Marketing (Psst, It’s Ugly)

Here’s a story about what happens when you stop marketing. Warning: It ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s downright ugly.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a lovely client – easy to work with, appreciative, kind, respectful, responsive – with some bad news. Even though they loved the blog posts we wrote for them every week for the past year, their budget was cut drastically by HQ. And I do mean drastically – by 75%.

If that’s not enough to make your jaw drop, maybe this will: This client manages a brand new, luxury apartment complex here in Washington, DC. Competition is stiff. Very stiff. So stiff that you can’t throw a rock without hitting a new luxury building no matter where you are.

I hate to think what’s going to happen to this client, because every single business – and I don’t care who you are – HAS to invest in marketing. It’s not an option, it’s a must – at least if you want to stay in business.

One of the dumbest things I hear people say is that marketing siphons too much money away from the bottom line. Marketing is not an expense. It’s a vital investment in the future of your business. It’s the only way to constantly replenish your sales pipeline. It’s the only way you will grow and succeed.

Here’s a scary look at what happens when you stop marketing:

Brand awareness will drop

There are tons of brands, small businesses, mega-chains, individuals, and funny pet videos vying for our attention every single day. If your competitor invests a lot of time and money in marketing – blogging, social media, PPC ads, webinars, speaking gigs at conferences – and you do zilch, guess who’s name I’m going to remember? Your competitor’s.

You’ll be considered irrelevant

If you’re not part of the conversation, you’re not relevant, period. If you call yourself an expert (and I am sure you are!), you need to get that expertise out there so other people view you as one and start turning to you for advice, products, and services.

Word of mouth will screech to a halt

This is probably the biggest fear of small business owners. I get most of my clients from word of mouth, and I bet you do, too. Now, imagine if you started ignoring your network. Stop pinging people to say hi, sending out your newsletter, and setting up coffees just to catch up, and word of mouth will dry screech to a halt.

Your sales will dry up

Stop marketing, and your sales will dry up. Probably not right away, but like many lakes in poor, mega-drought-plagued California, they will slowly recede til all that’s left is drift wood and dead fish. You don’t want dead fish where there was once a thriving, healthy ecosystem, do you?

Please people, cut expenses – including the marketing you’re doing that’s not working – but don’t every stop marketing completely. You need marketing more than you think! When you’re ready to start marketing again, you will have a very long and very expensive slog uphill to regain all that lost awareness, credibility, word of mouth, and sales.

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