Marketing is an investment, if done right

It has been 25 years since I first asked myself this question. I was launching my first business at the time and after reading several books on business start ups and planning, it soon became clear you needed to speculate to accumulate.

The biggest lesson that I learned in those early years, is the need to have a plan for everything you do within your business. Marketing is not an exception to the rule and as the old adage says if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

You see if you don’t take care of your marketing budget, you will soon become a soft target for account managers from Yellow Pages, Thompson Local, BT Phone Book, Local Magazines, Newspapers, Radio stations and today a whole host of digital salespeople touting Websites, Google AdWords, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Facebook, Twitter, Video and Email Marketing.

How do I know all of this? Well I have operated on both sides of the fence. As an business owner I wasted money on every type of traditional marketing known to man. At times when business was slow and salespeople come knocking I found myself like a gambler out of control chasing the win. I would spend money on everything and anything to generate business leads, but they just didn’t come.

Why? because at that time like many business decision makers today, it was all done on a trial and error basis. For two reasons, the first reason was I didn’t have a clue what worked and what didn’t and the second reason to be honest. I came across some hardcore salespeople selling advertising gold for the price of silver, a skill that became useful when I later worked for Yellow Pages myself.

It was actually when working for Yellow Pages that I had an epiphany. After visiting literally hundreds of business owners I realised that most business owners today, still have no idea what works and what doesn’t and this problem has been exacerbated by the minefield of digital and social media marketing.

As an early adopter of all things digital and with 15 years experience in web design, search engine optimisation, email marketing, video marketing, and more recently social media marketing, I found myself with a unique opportunity to provide business owners with a solution to the marketing budget conundrum.

By the way, the answer to the original question is that 74 per cent of all business owners invest between 0 – 6 per cent of gross turnover on marketing. But, just before you get excited about the prospect of having no marketing budget. I should warn you that 96 per cent of those business owners ultimately fail. So, my advice to you is to stick to closer to the 6% and have marketing strategy and plan in place to avoid failure.

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