The marketing gods have been less than benevolent the past few years. Dealt a devastating uppercut by the crash of the dot-coms, the marketing industry took its worst battering since the Depression in the wake of 2001's terrorist attacks.
As the U.S. economy faced the specter of a double-dip recession, many small-business owners started making onerous decisions: Where to cut budgets and how deeply. Ever the fall guy for accountants with itchy red pens, the marketing and advertising line items of many an Excel spreadsheet were severely reduced or eradicated.
But what happens when a company abruptly ceases all marketing? What's to become of a brand, once beloved and nurtured, when its promotional support has evaporated?
Who Are You Again?
When a product or service is no longer marketed, a company faces the risk that the persnickety public will forget about it.
"When a company ceases communications, its market may perceive it as a serious weakness," cautions Carin Warner, president of Warner Communications, a public relations and marketing agency with offices in North Yarmouth, Maine. "The public is fickle and has a short memory."
A vivid example of the public's swift amnesia is the closing of the Maine Mall Cinema in South Portland. Shortly before its demise, a marketing mastermind for the parent chain, AMC, opted to stop running movie times in local newspapers. Apparently, AMC thought consumers would call or check the Web for times and dates. The movie-going public, accustomed to finding the information in the paper, responded by promptly forgetting all about the theater.
Running on Fumes