Businesses often think of marketing as an expense. Too many business leaders believe marketing is just a supporting arm of sales and a quick fix to bring in leads each month. With that mindset, marketing budgets are created with the philosophy of only spending money when you absolutely have to, or when you need more sales. However, effective marketing couldn’t be further from that ideology.
Much like investing in the stock market, or cryptocurrency (if that’s more your style), marketing should be looked at as an investment. You should even think of marketing like you do your retirement fund. As a long-term investment that grows over time. Organizations that view marketing as an investment recognize the important role that marketing plays in business growth and how continually investing in these resources leads to more growth and customers over time.
If you don't already, start thinking of your marketing strategy like your financial portfolio.
It’s a Long-Term Game
Any financial planner will share charts that show the comparison in your retirement growth if you start investing in your 20's vs. waiting until you're in your 40's to start saving. The longer you invest, the more your money works for you and the more growth you’ll see. The same is true for marketing.
Sure, you can publish a social post or blog post when something big is happening, or only turn on your paid search when you’re desperate for leads. But you're not always going to see leads come in immediately. The biggest growth comes from a consistent, long-term strategy. In fact, you should have a marketing strategy that is always on. Being proactive rather than reactive will serve your business well.
Yes, individual campaigns with specific goals and timelines are important for your marketing, but you should always have branding at the core of your strategy. After all, building a recognizable and trusted brand takes time. Not to mention, businesses that continue to market during economic downturns, historically have done better than businesses that stop marketing or reduce their budgets.
Diversify Your Efforts
Much like your financial investments, you also want to diversify your marketing efforts. Diversification ensures that by not "putting all your eggs in one basket," you will not be creating an unwanted risk to your capital. The same goes for your marketing strategy. If you are only doing one tactic like social media marketing, or are relying solely on email marketing, you are missing out on much bigger opportunities.
When you diversify your marketing efforts, you’ll see greater growth. The buyer's journey isn't always the nice straight line we learn about in marketing 101.
Just look at your conversion path attribution in your Google Analytics account. Often, you'll see multiple touch points and people coming to your website from multiple sources before taking an action. Depending on the tactics you're using, it may look something like this:
As consumers become more informed, and the competitive landscape increases, prospects are spending more time doing their own research before making a decision to purchase.
This is also why omni-channel marketing is so successful. As your buyer moves through the awareness, consideration and decision stages, you want your brand to be top of mind. Reaching your prospects via email, social media, display ads, search ads, geofencing ads, CTV ads and retargeting helps to keep them in your funnel and educate them on the benefits of your products and services. This is especially true if your sales cycle spans several weeks or even months.
When you diversify your marketing, you'll successfully reach your target audience.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Did you try a sponsored post that didn’t work out? Or hosted a webinar with low turn-out rate? We’ve all been there. This isn’t any different than the dips you see in the financial markets. If you have a long-term strategy with diverse tactics, not every campaign you do is going to be a smashing success or give you your desired results. Take these opportunities and learn from them. Pick yourself back up and keep on plugging along. Again- it’s the longer, upward trends you want to see. There’s going to be dips and lows in every investment, but this is exactly why you invest in the long run and diversify your marketing efforts.
Do the Math
We’ve all seen the numbers. If you made a $100 investment in Apple at IPO, you would now have about $70,000 worth of shares. Of course, you would either be extremely lucky or have some sort of fortune-telling skills to know that the growth would be that much when you originally purchased the stock.
Lucky for marketers, it’s less about knowing the future as it is building a strong strategy to fill in the gaps. Turn your marketing investments into a math problem. For example, you’re looking to grow your business from $1.2 Million a year to $1.8 Million a year. A new client is worth $120,000/year, so you’ll need 5 new clients to get to that goal. Great!
Since new clients aren’t just going to appear out of thin air, you’ll likely have to do something different to attract those clients. So you recognize that you need to make an investment into your marketing strategy. You decide to add marketing automation software ($12,000/year) and an agency to help execute an inbound strategy ($90,000/year). By the end of the year, they help you generate 6 new clients. Your $102,000 investment in marketing helped you to bring in $720,000 in business and exceed your original growth goal for the year.
If you didn’t do the math, it is likely difficult to see the value in that $102,000 marketing investment. This is why you need to break down what your investment really means for your business, and balance the risk of your investment with the potential reward.
Are You Ready to Invest?
Stop thinking about marketing as an expense. If you want your business to grow, you need an effective marketing plan. After all, even if you have the best product in the market, if nobody knows about it, you’re out of business.
Successful businesses never stop marketing. Look at marketing as an investment. While you may be asking yourself if you can afford marketing technology or an experienced marketing agency, the better question is: Can you afford NOT to invest in your marketing?