Blog Post By: Ian J. Jennings, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Baer Performance Marketing

Local business owners we speak with often grapple with the same challenges. They want to increase sales in a cost-effective way. They don’t want to throw good money after bad (many have experienced several past marketing failures). They want to be the best, and might even be the best, but not enough people know about it. They get hopelessly caught up in the expense of marketing and lose sight of the bigger picture.

Marketing isn’t an expense, it’s an investment in the company. From product and package design to how many words are on the front page of your website, everything that communicates with the customer is a marketing decision, and therefore an investment in your business’ future. Marketing is not an expense the way a box of pens or internet service is an expense. Every social media profile, radio ad, or tweet directly impacts your business’ bottom line. If these things (or any marketing initiative) have the power to sell a product or service, and we know for a fact they do, then failing to utilize them properly, or at all, is business suicide.

When you spend money on any marketing or advertising initiative, there will be a return on that investment (ROI). Ideally, the ROI will be a number greater than the original investment, but not always. Unlike other parts of a business, marketing “investments” aren’t always going to pay off in a way that makes immediate sense to someone unfamiliar with building comprehensive marketing strategies. For example, building an amazing website is almost always a good investment for a business, but the ROI of that website can be negative if other issues aren’t attended to or factored in accurately. It might have been a great investment in theory, but if it’s ignored or the product you’re selling is bad, it won’t matter.

Websites, or any marketing initiative, must be looked at as an investment in your company’s future. These actions are a bigger part of a more complex whole. There won’t be a great ROI on a website or social media strategy if the other components of the marketing plan aren’t in place. There also won’t be growth in your business if you don’t pay attention to these things, regardless of whether you want to or not. Ultimately, somebody will pay attention, and they’ll understand a comprehensive marketing strategy is a complex flow of information from business to customer and back again. ROI is fantastic for measuring individual campaigns within the greater whole, but if expense is what you’re focused on, marketing will always be scary or frustrating.

It doesn’t have to be. Allow yourself to see marketing as a direct investment from which strong bottom lines flow. Conversely, bad marketing chokes off the flow of strong sales, allowing competitors and substitute products to cut off a chunk of pie originally meant for you. Marketing is the science of investing in your business and your products for the long-term. Focus on thinking of marketing as an investment, but don’t focus obsessively on early ROI. Instead, establish key-performance-indicators whereby you know the plan is on track and things are progressing the way you and your agency had planned. The money might not be flowing yet, but the investment is paying off. Keep building the plan, much the way you’d build a house. If done correctly, the sum will end up greater than the parts. Like anything in life, you simply must invest wisely.

If you want help investing in your company’s future, please leave a comment below or privately reach out to the Baer Performance Marketing team here.