I recently joined a chat of entrepreneurs and a person brought up the topic of business growth. Specifically, she said that someone who is not willing to spend money on advertising to grow a business is not an entrepreneur.
I think her comment is biased, she runs a social media agency, and ignorant. Let me explain…
A business I had some years ago, Blu Maya, we helped brands create word of mouth through brand experience. An image in our pitch deck said “advertising is the price you pay for being boring”. Our focus was to help brands be memorable by creating an immersive brand experience. This was from 2009 – 2013, so social media was just picking up. Blogs were still a hobby, being a blogger / vlogger wasn’t something people did as a means of making money.
The message in our deck means that you’re not making an effort to be creative in how you promote your business if you have to rely on paid advertising to be visible. The point is that neither, advertising or word of mouth, is an end all be all. Today it’s very inexpensive to use targeted advertising online to be visible. So paid advertising has its place, and can be used in many ways to create word of mouth; but don’t rely on it as the only option.
Yes, many large brands use advertising to grow their business; in some industries more than others. But it’s not the only thing they do to achieve their business growth.
I grew the first business I had, while I was in college, through word of mouth. I never paid a single dollar of advertising because I believed that my clients would referr me to their friends because I wowed them by overdelivering on my promise. This seems simple, straight forward and common sensical. It is. And that’s what I mean: Word of mouth is the oldest form of advertising.
Bottom line: You don’t want to become dependent on paid advertising to grow your business.