I often encounter a mindset that sees marketing as an expense. I suppose from the perspective of an accountant, that is absolutely accurate. However, in reality marketing should be viewed as an investment. Think of it this way: marketing is only expensive if it’s not working. If you made 5 dollars every time you spent two marketing dollars you would be spending money all day and be happy about it. Ideally, marketing is an investment.
We all live within the constraints of a budget. So this week we are going to address marketing on a shoestring, on choosing strategies that are smart and that work. Today, however, we are going to talk about avoiding turning our shoestrings into nooses – making mistakes with our marketing dollars that, like bad investments, are nothing but expensive errors.
I received an email the other day from an agent that uses an AOL email account. At the bottom of her email was a sentence “Make your summer sizzle with fast and easy recipes for the grill.” Really? I want to pull my hair out.
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All in the name of a “free email account” this particular agent does not mind looking like a consumer. What is a client to think? Does an AOL account, or hotmail or gmail indicate professionalism? I suggest that this is a shoestring noose – that it is more expensive for the agent to use a free AOL email than to spend $15.00 a year for a professional email account. With every email this agent sends, she loses professional credibility.
Shoestring marketing is not about doing things cheaply. It is about being as smart as possible with your resources. Last week we looked at 15 suggestions for guerrilla marketing. Let’s not confuse being smart with being cheap.
Other areas where you should not skimp on your marketing expenditures:
- Business Cards – purchase good ones, they are your silent ambassadors;
- Logos – please do not build one out of clipart, use a professional;
- Brochures – Better to not have one than to have a bad one.
- Websites – Yikes.
Only those with highly developed artistic sensibilities should undertake the design of their own collateral. I’ve seen it work, but those exceptions prove the rule. Marketing collateral is the number one area where you should make a real investment. These items stand in for you when you are not there to speak for yourself. The last message travel agents want to give their clients is “do it yourself.”
You get the idea.
So for the rest of this week, we will speak to shoestring marketing, all the while being committed to avoiding the shoe-string nooses.
Tomorrow – Cost Effective Public Relations