A business owner recently said to me: “Marketing is such a grudge purchase”

The way he said it made me realise just how unpleasant paying for marketing is to some owners. It’s almost like cleaning the garbage.

But why is this?

Let me start by asking: What is not a grudge purchase? In a business, what do you spend money on with a smile?

  • Do you happily buy your staff new stationary?
  • Do you love paying for the telephone and internet?
  • Do you get a kick out of paying the lawyer, the auditor, the courier company?

Seriously, what is not a grudge purchase?

If only it was possible to make money without spending any.

But there is a caveat.

I find that business owners are willing to spend money when it is clear how it will allow them to make more money. In fact, it can be quite addictive. I give you R1, and you give me R1,20 back. Nice! Here’s another R1 for you.

The problem is that most marketing initiatives are not clearly linked with “making more money”. There is no straight line connection between how this marketing activity will convince that customer to spend more here, tomorrow. Hence the grudge.

Back in the day when I was in Big Corporate it was common for marketing people to silently think they are a step up from the sales people. Sales is so unsophisticated, so unpolished; Marketing so cool and intellectual. Marketing was seen as distinctly different from sales. Now that I work directly with entrepreneurs I have had to quickly drop that view.

Everything is about sales.

That new couch in your reception area? It’s about sales. Offering guests bottled water instead of tap water? It’s about sales. The year end function? It’s about sales.

In a well-run business everything, at some point, comes down to sales. Selling more, selling higher.

This is true for big and small companies, but in small companies I find the understanding of this to be so much clearer. Employees know “everything here is about sales”

So let’s be clear:

Marketing is about sales.

It is only once this connection can be drawn in no uncertain terms that marketing moves away from being a grudge to being an addiction! Everybody should understand how spending R1 on that Facebook page will bring back R1,20 in sales.

The question you should ask yourself as a business owner: Can you make a direct connection between your marketing activity and growing sales? If not, be sure to give me a call and I’ll help. (there, that’s my sales pitch).

Image source: Flickr