Advertising is Like Life Insurance

My Marketing Strategy
Nicolette Lemmon, President & Founder

In reading an article that interviewed Al Ries and daughter, Laura Ries on their books on branding and marketing, I was struck by one analogy. It was this:

“The function of advertising is to protect the brand from its potential competitors. It’s like life insurance. What’s the return on investment if you don’t die? Zero. But that doesn’t mean that a life insurance policy is not a good thing to buy. It protects your heirs from an untimely death.”

Time and again, I have found it difficult to answer the senior management team member who asks what specifically they will get from doing media advertising. The answer is usually, a rise in traffic, new members joining, more business being opened. However, the formula does not exist to calculate a return on investment for that CEO or CFO.

In these extraordinary times, when marketing dollars have been squeezed and decisions are made down to the dollar on many campaigns, advertising looks like a luxury. Yet, according to Ries and Ries, a company still needs “life insurance!”

In marketing budgets for clients, we still recommend for community charter credit unions, having up to 25% used for advertising including print, cable, radio and billboard. In the more flourishing times, some community charter credit unions used even higher percentages to expand their visibility across their markets served.

Today, carving out some “brand insurance” is still important to stay in the mind of your members because if you drop all your efforts to stay in front of them, out of sight, out of mind is a brand killer!

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