How Uniqueness and Value Reduce the Need for Advertising

I enjoy having a look at larger companies to see what we smaller businesses can learn from them.  For this blog post, I am going to review Apple and Coca Cola.  Research revealed information in the following table in regards to each company’s 2016 revenue and advertising expenditures.





Advertising as a % of Revenue


$215.6 B

$1.8 B



$41.9 B

$4.0 B



What can we learn?

Marketing and advertising are required for a successful business.  You probably knew that.  However, relative to revenue levels, Coca-Cola spends 11 times more than Apple!  In nominal terms, they spend more on advertising, yet have less revenues.  How can this be?

Coca-Cola operates in a commodity market.  Soft drinks, bottled water and other drinks are generally considered commodities with lots of competition in the market.  In commodity types of markets, competitive product pricing and lots of advertising is how market share and sales are achieved.

Apple operates with unique and innovative products and services.  They still have competition and advertising, just not to the degree of Coca-Cola.  Apple seems to have a knack for coming up with new products and services that we want to buy.  I have seen lines of people at stores waiting for the latest version of the iPhone.  I have not seen lines of people waiting for the latest can of soda.


Actions to take

As small businesses, we need to take actions that move us from the commodity market towards the unique & innovative market.  These actions do not have to necessarily be a great innovation that leads to a patent.  They can be smaller changes.  Perhaps we add a new product or service to our offerings.  Maybe we research to find new markets and customers.  Perhaps we can bundle some of our products and services into packages specifically towards niche markets.  There are many possibilities.
Contact me today and let’s get started!