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711: Should Marketing Be Profitable?

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I hear this question a lot.

“If I ‘do marketing’, it should pay for itself, right?”

“If I run some ads, they should pay for themselves, right?”

“If I buy a website, it should pay for itself, right?”

These are the wrong questions to ask:

Marketing can be directly profitable, but to enforce it as a rule limits your potential:

It’s not Marketing’s job to be profitable. If it were, why would anyone use paid advertising to sell $5 books? If it had to cover its own costs directly, why would some smart brands break-even on acquisition, or run loss-leader campaigns? Treating marketing as a profitable-or-bust activity denies your important work a whole dimension of possibility. Marketing should be effective, but need not always be directly profitable.

It’s Business’ job to be profitable. A business should be profitable. With effective acquisition systems in place, a smart business can turn loss-leaders into highly profitable endeavors with effective retention systems on the back-end. Or they could acquire at cost. Or use bundles, JV and host-beneficiary relationships to create value both for those they serve and for their own bottom-line.

“Should marketing be profitable?”

Who cares, so long as it’s effective, and your business is strategic.


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Helping teams doing work that matters, do more of what matters.


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Marketing Isn’t About You: The 2 things that matter if you sell things that matter.

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My blog is dedicated to sharing ideas, insights and challenges that will help you create and sell what matters for the betterment of your cause.

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732: Is the Goal the Goal?

We all set goals. Did you set the right ones?
Designing a lovely new interface: is the goal a lovely new interface – something never seen before so you can impress yourself – or is the goal to support those who will use it toward their goals?

You are creating what matters.

So how can we help you
sell it better & make more impact?

Built For Impact

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BuiltForImpact is a focused one-page online distillation of your message with a concentrated focus on ethical, effective sales.


Mosaic Marketing Optimization

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Mosaic is a marketing optmization platform to give you specific actionable ROI-calculated recommendations rather than just data.

Marketing Isn't About You

Marketing Isn't About You

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Our latest book to help you understand the two things that matters if you sell things that matter. Get 3 chapters free:

Marketing Review

Insights & Creative Marketing Review

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Sharing our journey to discover how to create & quantify the most impactful, long-lasting websites in the world.