I sell advertising for our media company. It is how we pay most of the bills around here. The phrase I have heard the most from our potential customers in the last 7 years from new companies we speak with are “We don’t really have a marketing budget”.
Which prompts me to think “You don’t really have a business then do you?”
I am consistently surprised by this notion of a business refusing to put dollars into marketing or advertising. So many self-starters think that by creating a webpage, and essentially “turning the lights on”, that they will be successful.
Many of my potential customers are in the race business. They say things like “I don’t have sufficient enough sales from participants to spend money on an advertising budget”. As if, this is how a business has ever worked. You aren’t massively successful by doing nothing, and then able to snag ever more participants. No magical cash flow was ever created by never promoting your events on the front end.
If you don’t want to put money towards growing your product and only want to spend money on executing your event, which is totally fine. Just know that you do not have a business, you have a hobby.
Nothing wrong with having a hobby. Hobbies bring us a way to put energy towards passions, a way to serve our community, a way to gain self-improvement, and countless other benefits. What they don’t do is make money. Hobbies are things we do because we don’t care if we make money. We do them for a loss or break even at best.
A successful business requires far more effort. It requires looking past just the next event or next quarter. It requires sacrificing time and human capital. It requires getting help in ways one never thought imaginable. It also costs money. So if you want to grow, you need to advertise. Start small, exchange favors, do whatever you can, but do it. Otherwise, you don’t have a business.
PS When you do purchase some advertising, please do not begin looking for magical ROI.