Financially Responsible Marketing

Is marketing a black hole? Or the only path to real growth? Part 1 of 2

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017


I never needed it before – why now?

Here you are thriving, a successful enterprise. But you’re not sure where to invest to get to your next phase of growth. And you’re thinking of stepping into marketing?

“Hey!” says your reluctant self, as it has for years. “We’ve built a successful business without that marketing investment! We have a great service/product that speaks for itself. Do we really need to go there?”

Marketing is a badge of honour, an inevitable step in your march to success

Here’s the pill you need to swallow as a successful small-medium business. Even with strong advocates for your excellent product/service, you can only connect with so many people – knock on a finite number of doors. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve tapped out that network.

Great marketing breaks these limits. Extends your reach. And maybe best of all, propels your team’s efforts, leverages their time by softening the ground before them.

If it makes the pill any easier for you to swallow, please note that the world’s leaders spend a startling amount of revenue on marketing. For example, Twitter spent 44% of revenue on marketing in 2014 (earning 111% growth), spent 55%, and LinkedIn 35% (45% growth). Mighty tech giants spent comparatively less but still impressive amounts: Google 12%, Microsoft 18%, and Oracle 20%.

And where did they spend it? According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most effective B2B marketers spend close to half (39%) of their marketing budgets on content.[1]

When to start?

When to start? That’s an easy question to answer. Yesterday, or last year. As soon as possible!


Because successful marketing warms and prepares the ground for sales, allowing your salespeople to achieve more every hour of every day. And online marketing works 24/7 – always on, always available.

But marketing by definition is the advance guard, it’s the preparation of the ground for the seeds your salesforce will sow, one by one. It takes time for your marketing to take effect (the length being dependent on the type of marketing you do). So start now! And try to maintain your marketing efforts, even at a minimal base level, because playing catch-up is hard to do. And expensive, because as with every service you buy, last-minute is more expensive.

In fact, it’s considerably easier to turn up the heat when you have an existing platform to build upon. So don’t lose momentum. Think of today’s marketing investment as a way to attract and convert future customers.

Where to start? Consider going out before you go in

Internal resources often seem cheaper than external. That’s because most of us don’t do the math properly. We tend to underestimate the cost of any internal resource, because of where and how their costs affect our budgets.

If you’re just starting to build your marketing steam, outsourcing allows you to spend your dollars on experts exactly as and how and when you want. Rather than putting out 1 weeks salary per week times the number of marketers you’ve hired, you invest in an expert’s time only as and when needed. If you need a web designer for 3 weeks, that’s what you invest in. Or a content writer’s, or an SEO expert, or a pay-per-click specialist, and so on down the line. You can put your money exactly where you want to.

Plus, outsourced experts don’t have to be managed. And if you’re in a critical growth state, it’s best to stick to your knitting. Your leadership/c-suite needs the flexibility to focus on core business activities.

More reasons to outsource

You’ll be more strategic

For all those hard-to-define human reasons, you tend to be more strategic, spend your dollars more wisely, when you outsource. Internally, your marketer(s) have a tendency to get caught up in the hustle/bustle of daily activity. They tend to not invest in the pull-back-and-strategize time that an external resource will. You may continue to get your marketing activities accomplished with an internal resource, but you may not be using your time and money wisely.

You get the best in the business

The top players tend to work in either agencies, or as independents … working for agencies. If you hire a marketer and they’re not being recruited, chances are you don’t have one of these top players. Are you getting your money’s worth, working with a known specialist? With an internal hire, do you get the known-and-respected SEO person / content writer / designer all in one?

You’ll be more patient and do better in the long term

An external partner is more likely to refine, augment, and build upon an existing plan. It’s a better way of getting ongoing results than to suddenly throw $$ at a problem to try and buy immediate results.

Now what do I do?

Good question! Read on to part 2 of this post, where we will share the 5 factors you need to consider before taking your next marketing step.

[1] All figures