When one thinks of an investment, one automatically thinks about return on investment. And when you think about an expense, you think of it as a cost where no actual monetary return is gained.

As a result, it is common in a recession or economic downturn that marketing is one of the first ‘expenses’ to be cut. Marketing efforts are often viewed as a flowery, feel-good expense which is often the reason why it is cut first.

Simply put, marketing is communicating a message using research and creativity. Marketing is telling your story to your customer and prospect. To see it purely as an expense can take the creativity and research out of it.

Ditch the allocated budget
When marketing is viewed as an investment, it allows creativity to flourish and for new ideas come to life. Marketing managers are often allocated a marketing budget that they need to spend to show that they are being proactive. This can take the creativity and strategy out of their marketing efforts.

Sometimes their attitude is “let’s spend the marketing budget and then its out of the way”. A series of full-page adverts in a newspaper or bulk spending on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or on a Likes campaign or boosted posts, could have little or no effect on the target audience and will probably produce minimal benefit.

A proper marketing strategy should focus on the project from all possible angles, before spending. I’ve seen numerous companies spend for the sake of spending because it looks good to their board or directors. As mentioned, marketing managers can be inclined to take the easy way out, and needless to say, with poor results. Especially when they are not experienced with the benefits digital platforms offer.

With all respect, most Exco or board members over 40 years old have little knowledge of digital marketing. The environment changes on a daily basis. When we explain to some people that we can track and remarket to people who visited to their website, there are puzzled looks.

When we say that we can find these people on Facebook and target adverts to them based on the specific products and services they looked at on the website, they usually don’t believe us.

There is disbelief when we give them an indication of the cost, sometimes less than R2 000pm, to create up to 25 qualified leads per month or drive significantly more traffic to their website. Our clients are doing these adverts and are producing quality business.

Unfortunately, there is a huge disconnect between traditional advertising, marketing managers, and digital media. Ten years ago marketing managers would spend R1 million on a few adverts in a Sunday newspaper to ‘brand’ their company. But there was little or no way to measure the success of the adverts.

Today R2000pm can produce 25 leads or bring people to your website. Are traditional advertising agencies and marketing managers providing any benefit? Hopefully, they are by moving with the times and learning what is new on digital platforms. Without this marketing people will be left behind.

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