Why Marketing

Marketing ideas for small and medium-sized businesses

Is Marketing an Expense or an Investment?

My definition of marketing is simple. It’s a science and an art.

It’s true that historically it was more transactional. It was less about customers and more about the product.

Today, it’s all about the customer in a dynamic market. Being static is being non-existent.

It’s no secret that when you’re starting a business, marketing is always listed in your expenses. But is it really? It depends on how you look at it.

Expenses are transactional in nature, where investments are more about relationships. Marketing is about relationships, and the tools to build and maintain relationships are transactional.

Let me rephrase that. You invest in marketing, and expense the tools.


When you invest in marketing, you ensure that you are buying the right tools for the goals you need to achieve. You invest in learning how to best reach the customer that will spend the most money with your business. You invest in staying on top of your market trends and changes. This investment will save you money and opportunity cost over time. The knowledge you invest in will benefit your business for years to come.

A practical example

Joey opens a business and purchases everything related to a website (hosting, domain, etc…), downloads a free template, opens a Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest account for the business and also buys some business cards and postcards to promote the launch.

Joey wants to reach as many people as possible to recuperate the money spent on all of these activities. This translates into a mass print run of post cards, and a postal mail drop to specific communities around her business to maximize the reach of the launch message.

What you don’t see is the time Joey has invested in these activities.

If it doesn’t cost you money, it costs you time.

She invested time in designing and populating her website, finding images and figuring out all of her content.

She invested time in figuring out the design and content of the post cards and how to do a mail drop. Side note: Because the post cards are from a different supplier than her web template, they don’t look consistent at all, which confused some potential customers resulting in lost sales.

She invested time in managing 3 different social media accounts and, because she’s only one person, ended up using the same message on all three accounts.

What if she invested in marketing instead?

She would have understood that the customers she is trying to reach in her market are mainly online, and predominantly using Instagram – saving her time on managing 2 other channels that didn’t serve her.

She would have discovered that her potential customers in the community she was targeting are environmentally conscious and typically do not respond positively to paper spam (let’s be honest here…). Moreover, the community she opened her business in is not the type of customer she is trying to attract anyways. This knowledge would have saved her money on the printing and distribution of post cards, and helped her reallocate the spend to a more relevant initiative.

She would have learned that investing in developing a brand would ensure a consistent experience with her business that customers would relate to and recognize better over time. It would immediately improve her sales.

She would’ve learned that website content is very much targeted to the customers you are trying to reach – and not everyone. This content is typically developed once and reused throughout other marketing activities in the coming years – saving her time.

Marketing is an investment that pays off in savings, opportunity cost and knowledge sharing. Yes, there are some expenses, but they can be better managed when you invest in marketing.

Why Marketing is a marketing consultancy who helps small & medium sized businesses set up a sustainable, scalable, efficient and effective marketing function. The primary goal is to empower entrepreneurs to own their brand. Founder Elena Parial is a Senior Marketing Consultant with over 15 years of B2B, B2C and corporate marketing experience. Being industry-fluid allows her to bring successful strategies to clients who need to look at their marketing differently.

Is Marketing an Expense or an Investment?
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