Marketing ROI: An Investment or an Expense

Marketing: Spending vs Investing

In Digital Marketing, there’s a short game (spending) and long game (investing) to getting customers and sales, but most people have no patience or means to justify playing the long game. This presents an opportunity for any company looking for a competitive advantage.

The Short Game – Digital Spending

The short game is obvious: spending on search, display and promoted posts to drive traffic, visibility and conversions. This is familiar territory as it’s an extension of how marketing campaigns have been run for decades – buy media space, build some creative content and splash it out there. There is certainly a time and place for short game spending campaigns.

In our experience, companies with traditional media buying agencies leading their digital advertising or social marketing efforts put too many resources in the short game. There’s a good reason — it’s what they know and it’s how they are compensated.

The reality is most short game campaigns, if not set up appropriately, are one-and-done spends. You buy the ad space, or pay to promote a post or sponsor a keyword and if there is no conversion or capture then the value dissipates. Because the value capture is in the moment it requires great skill to drive ROI with digital spending — we know it and do it quite frequently.

The Long Game – Digital Investing

The long game is where the smart companies balance their budgets, because it’s not spending, it’s investing. Think of it like a financial investment, where you put your money in an investment vehicle designed to make your money move in the direction you want it to go and grow for future use.

“Investment vehicles” are there to make it possible for you to take advantage of ways to earn, save, grow your money and create higher, long term purchasing power.

Digital and social platforms represent investment vehicles for your company’s marketing portfolio. Instead of only putting money into them, you are also putting content in.

Digital Investment Vehicle Examples:

A piece of How To content placed on WikiHow lives in perpetuity and drives traffic to your website
A well thought out response to a question on Quora lives in perpetuity and establishes expertise
A creative services overview video on YouTube lives in perpetuity and drives visibility for your service
Spending is capital intensive, investment is labour intensive! Quality labour is in short supply as most digital marketing today is a fad. Quality content is at a premium. Most content parading as digital marketing content is recycled content cut and paste from other portals.

Digital marketing is also marketing and success depends largely on the understanding of the customer and the marketplace, not just trying to outsmart the algorithms.

Investment in great creative, participating in the conversation, and content to help your customers are long term investment strategies that earn interest over time.

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