Many business owners see marketing as a ‘necessary evil’, something that has to be done and is just a ‘cost of doing business’. Whilst I agree with some of the words, I don’t accept the sentiment.
Marketing is certainly necessary for any organisation that needs to change opinions and/or behaviour to be successful, but it doesn’t have to be ‘evil’. It does also have a cost (whether that is time or money, or both).
However, the attitude I always recommend is to consider all marketing activities as optional. There are no legal requirements to have a website, distribute flyers, advertise in the local papers or go to networking events. Some and possibly all of these activities may be a good idea for a business, but the point is they aren’t obligatory – it’s for the business owner to choose which they want to run.
The choice should be based on an acceptable balance of risk and return – marketing is an investment, and like any other investment, we should only commit to spend the money when we are happy with the projected return.
In other words, it doesn’t matter what your competitors are doing, what the advertising salesman says or what you’ve always done before. What matters is whether you are convinced that you are likely to get enough sales to more than pay for the cost of the activity and whether you have the cash to pay for it.