Listen to your financial adviser
Wouldn’t it be great if our business sales stayed on a steady and predictable climb throughout the year, year after year? Unfortunately in real life, our sales cycles resemble more the mountainous scenery that surrounds our businesses and homes ” high peaks and deep valleys.
Often how much we put into our marketing follows a similar path. When cash is tight, it may it may make sense at the time to slice the marketing budget. However, if our marketing investment is the result of day-to-day cash flow and not a long-term planned strategy, we only make those peaks and valleys more extreme.
So why not take a tip from financial advisers, who deal with a seesawing stock market?
My adviser, Tom Larsen, reminds me eight times a year that the best way to invest in the stock market is in steady monthly amounts. When the market’s up, you’re happy to invest. When the market’s down, you get more stocks for your buck. Those in his profession call it dollar-cost averaging. He calls it “buying stocks on sale,” and the best way to grow wealth.
We also should apply this personal finance basic to our investment in marketing. A good strategy for advertising is to have a consistent, year-round lower level of exposure (the marketer’s version of dollar-cost averaging) then ramp up the ads around certain times like the holidays, offseason sales, or when you host special events. That way your customers will feel your presence at all times of the year, and be more tuned into those ads when you’re doing your bigger marketing push.
Cutting your marketing budget when times are tough is only a short-term solution, like panic selling when the stock market slides. This “buy high, sell low” reaction may pay today’s creditors but won’t bring in tomorrow’s customers. A steady and consistent investment into smart marketing will give you more dependable business, filling in those valleys of slow times.
To do that right means creating a marketing plan. Like a detailed financial plan, this plan will allow you to budget your year’s worth of ads and other efforts. Creating your plan also forces you to truly think about your marketing. That process will help you discover what efforts are important, and what can be cut, ultimately saving you money.
Separate your marketing decisions from your day-to-day cash flow. You’ll be running a healthier business if you keep an eye on the future instead of just reacting to the present. Well-executed marketing is an investment, not a cost. So treat it like the rest of your investments.
Kelly Coffey is the founder of Harebrained Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting local businesses with local customers. Reach him at Kelly@harebrainedmarketing.com or (970) 926-0888. For more marketing tips, resources, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit http://www.harebrainedmarketing.com.