30th July, 2021
By Adewale Adetona
A few days ago, I was reading a book titled ‘The Sixteen Monumental Secrets of Guerrilla Marketing’ authored by Jay Conrad Levinson, an American Advertising Executive who is also considered the founder and forerunner of Guerrilla Marketing.
One of the secrets he shared grabbed my attention, which is “Consider Marketing as Conservative Investments”. He further went on to relate marketing to buying a blue-chip stock. If the value of the stock drops after few weeks of purchase, you definitely won’t sell them off but rather hold on to them till the stocks mature before you decide to sell them.
Excerpts from Jay Conrad Levinson’s “The Sixteen Monumental Secrets of Guerrilla Marketing”
I reckon there have always been arguments about marketing being a bottom-line cost versus marketing being an organizational investment. As marketing professionals, oftentimes, we are under pressure to show instant result for our marketing spends, and we get disappointed when we don’t see the results. One clear thing is that marketing and advertising should be looked at in the same way as a blue-chip stock investment. If it does not grow instantly against your expectations, it is because most investments don’t grow instantly, it takes a while.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that marketing will definitely contribute to your bottom line and help you achieve the desired brand awareness, but not instantly. It happens slowly and will not instantly double your sales. This is a general misconception about marketing which oftentimes leads to disappointment.
This is where measurement comes to play. At the end of the year, you should be able to plot a graph of your marketing spend against your sales and see what percentage more you can put into your marketing activities. With this in mind, you will feel good about making a conservative investment in marketing the next year and even the year after.
Reminds me of a friend in the UK. We did a mini-marketing campaign for her range of beauty products and after just two days of few activities, she started complaining that no one has ordered yet and wanted to pull out of the marketing program. Marketing does not work that way, do not expect it to. It happens in a few instances but not all the time.
Just as Jay rightly wrote in his book, whenever you spend any amount on marketing, use the term ‘investment’ to describe your expenditure.
Unfortunately, many organizations are more focused on annual revenue goals and pay less attention to their brand-building. They often forget that brand awareness, which is the core of marketing is what puts their products in the considered set when the consumer need arises.
In conclusion, it is very important to realize that as marketers, there is a cost for doing nothing. Marketing will go a long way in helping you to maintain or improve your position in the market especially in the face of growing competition. As competition increases aggressively and the market reaches saturation, you’ll have to invest in marketing to achieve the same level of performance or growth.
I will use Coca-Cola as a case study. Even the baby that was born yesterday knows of Coke. Some of them even see you drinking Pepsi and they go like “Uncle Wale, give me Coke nah”. Coca-Cola might have reached market saturation, but they still maintain their brand advocates and consumers in the market by continuing to invest in marketing.
As a result of continued campaigns, Coca-Cola stays at the forefront of its consumers while also developing strong brand loyalty. It works for them as proven by various blind taste tests, people don’t buy Coca-Cola because of the brand’s taste, but for the marketing effect it has had on them. The company has developed into a leader because of the positive associations consumers have learned to make with the drink, all as a result of marketing.
You see those small marketing efforts you put into your product, never take them for granted by simply using what’s leftover after expenses. Think of your marketing as an investment and start generating revenue for your business!
Adewale Adetona, a revered marketing professional, digital media practitioner, social commentator and social media influencer writes from Lagos, Nigeria.