Marketing is often thought of like the ads on TV, Radio or billboards, or even seen in those old things called newspapers. Of course, it is much more than these, reaching deep into today’s critical digital space. Marketing includes every aspect of business (including advertising) that persuades people to purchase a product or a service. Without marketing (let’s say it boldly) it is impossible to make it in today’s uber-competitive world. Running a business without marketing is like operating a car without gas or trying to live without eating. Yet, in the debate about marketing some people in business (often small to medium-size businesses,) think of marketing as an expense that can be minimized, like “Who wants to waste more money on marketing?”

Is Marketing an Investment or Expense?

From an accounting standpoint, marketing actions are most often classified as expenses, meaning that the value of the marketing activity was consumed and expended at the time of purchase or use, not amortized over the valuable life of the activity as the purchase of a vehicle, building, equipment or real estate would be. The narrow view is that every marketing action must have an immediate return calculation.

The more informed and more wise approach to marketing (aside from how marketing is treated on a P&L statement) is that marketing is an investment. Marketing does have residual value. It will continue to drive consumer and sales impact well beyond the point of action or expenditure. Ultimately then, marketing is not just cost consuming, it is money-making! The challenge for some marketers is to persuade others not to consider marketing in the same cost category as, for example, janitorial services.  So, it is important not to be constrained by accounting terminology. Marketing is an “asset” that drives value over time, resulting in growing profits. No investment (no “gas”) equals no growth.

How Much Should be Invested in Marketing?

The traditional approach is to define the marketing budget simply as a percentage of gross income. A “bigger picture” view is to consider what competition and the industry does and what they spend, goals desired for the business, and returns that can reasonably be expected from marketing expenditures.

Principles of Good Marketing Investing

Follow these principles to ensure that investments in marketing reach desired goals and pay handsome returns:

  1. Develop a solid marketing plan based on deliberate marketing strategies, not random acts of marketing.
  2. Use a fully diversified “portfolio” of marketing campaigns and tactics, focused heavily on today’s digital arena and starting with a professionally developed and SEO optimized website, including:
  • Digital Advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • News releases
  • Reputation management and referral systems

     3. Plan to invest for the long term. Marketing does achieve success based on a “once and done” philosophy.

Avoid These Marketing Mistakes

  • Not having a professionally developed and optimized website.
  • Forgetting about mobile users.
  • Not clearly defining the essence of your brand—the unique selling proposition.
  • Not having a specific target audience.
  • Focusing only on customer acquisition and not also on customer retention.
  • Having too many discounts and too many limited-time promotions.
  • Not developing and utilizing social media effectively.
  • Failing to fully develop and utilize content marketing
  • Trying to do everything yourself.

Get Expert Help to Optimize Your Marketing Investments

Don’t go it alone. Get the experienced assistance you need to optimize your marketing and stand out from your competition. Contact VisionPATH Marketing. We specialize in inbound, content marketing and social media marketing. Our differentiator is strategy before tactics.