team from the Wharton School of Business at the University of
Pennsylvania, set out to establish the definitive answer to the
question: �If I spend this much money on advertising, what can I
expect to see as a result?�
Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Colgate-Palmolive and a host of other big
companies collectively invested more than a million dollars so that
Wharton might track the return-on-investment experienced by several
dozen small businesses as a result of advertising.
These businesses were scientifically monitored and measured for
seven full years. The final report filled more than 2,500 pages, and
the following conclusions were reached:
1) There is no direct correlation between dollars invested and
In other words, how much you spend and what you can expect to see in
return are not directly linked by any kind of mathematical equation.
2) Results are inextricably linked to the message.
Two advertisers invest the same amount of money, reaching the same
target audience. The difference between succeeding brilliantly and
failing miserably was in the message of their ads. Ads that speak to
the heart of the customer and touch a nerve are the ones that turn
little companies into big companies.
But few people know how to write such an ad. And there is no
evidence to suggest that the goal of merely getting one�s name out
there will help you in the slightest. The Wharton study indicates
everything hinges on the message you attach to your name. Is it
boring? Is it believable? Is it relevant to the perceived need of
the target audience?
3) Results increase with repetition.
When you�ve identified a message that generates a positive response
and you deliver it consistently, business growth in year two will be
approximately twice the growth of year one. Growth in year three
will be about triple the growth of year one...with growth measured
in dollars, not percentages.
Following year three, anything can happen. Your business can explode
exponentially, or it can flatten out as though hitting a glass
ceiling. The difference at this point is in the clients, not in the