Why is Marketing considered an Investment?
When we think of investing, what comes to mind may be in terms of money, time, intellect, or material. Investing may include more than one commitment, like money and time. In general, terms, investing is the act of allocating funds to an asset or committing capital to an endeavour (a business, project, real estate, etc.), with the expectation of generating an income or profit. It can mean putting in time or effort—not just money—into something with a long-term benefit, such as an education.
Why, then, is it a difficult decision for entrepreneurs to invest in marketing? Marketing publications suggest a percentage of net revenue of 10% should be invested in marketing products and services. Experience suggests that the percentage is closer to one or 2%; and for micro and small businesses the investment is non-existent, or less than 1% of net revenue, annually. Many entrepreneurs see marketing as a costly activity drawing down profit margins and staff time that could be applied to sales and delivering a product or service to customers. It can be argued that many entrepreneurs mistake sales activity for marketing and have little or no knowledge about what marketing is and what a good marketing program can do to boost sales and revenue.
Marketing is an investment in the future of an enterprise; it is not an unrecoverable expense.
Email databases are allowed by Canadian law for direct contact with clients. Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) protects consumers and businesses from the misuse of digital technology, including spam and other electronic threats. It also aims to help businesses stay competitive in a global, digital marketplace. Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is the federal privacy law for private-sector organizations. It sets out the ground rules for how businesses must handle personal information in the course of commercial activity. The government of Canada suggests that customers will appreciate doing business with an organization that shows respect for their privacy rights. This appreciation can lead to a competitive advantage for your business. Archiving a company email database is easy. It can be stored and built on a free MailChimp account, a spreadsheet, or a Word table. Once the database becomes one of the company’s assets, it can be used in many ways for direct contact with customers to promote repeat sales and to convert prospects to long-term clients.
All MSMEs (micro and small-to-medium-size enterprises) should take advantage of the benefits of free social media networks. If a micro or small business cannot afford a website but has access to the Internet, it should have a business page on Facebook, a company page on LinkedIn, a Twitter account, and an account on Instagram. These are the four most effective networks that can provide many benefits to a corporate website. They are measurable, and they can be easily customized—in myriad ways.
The costs associated with websites are domain registration, an internet service provider, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate used to provide security over a network, and a hosting company. Services offered by many companies like WordPress include free website templates. Someone with limited website development skills can build their own site.
It is vital for an MSME to have a modern corporate or visual identity that can be used on email marketing campaigns, social media, and websites, etc. We’re talking about logos with or without corporate descriptors and tag lines that pitch the company message. Over time, such logos become recognized by consumers and add to brand recall. There is a cost to create a corporate identity suite of basic marketing tools that include logo design and stationery (digital and printed). The cost, however, can be little, and within a .05-1% marketing budget.
Why is marketing an investment?
Why is marketing investment in the future of your enterprise? Because with no marketing there are no sales, or changes in the behaviour of people who you want to inform about your products, services, or opinion. There is no story of an enterprise being told. If you are not telling your story, no one will tell it on your behalf, and no one will know about your business. No business—no customers. No customers—no business. Simple! Invest wisely.
Grant Lee, Chartered Professional Marketer
President, AGL Marketing Limited
 The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-laws-in-canada/the-personal-information-protection-and-electronic-documents-act-pipeda/pipeda-compliance-help/guide_org/