November 22, 2019     Daily Post

Should Marketing Be Profitable?

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.