Marketing investing versus marketing spending

You see it all the time.  Measured media spend for a company is a common term.   Or ‘spending is to be…’.   I don’t understand why these dollars are not referred to as investments.  

When you go out to dinner with your spouse, family or friends that can be seen as spending perhaps although it could be argued that your investing in your relationships.   However that is probably too semantic and since you could have grown your own food, gone to the market, or chosen several less expensive alternatives to eating out in a restaurant spending is likely the best term to define going out to dinner. 

Buying shares of companies through the stock market is always seen as an investment.   It is speculative to say the least and far from a sure thing.  But the object is to increase the value of your investment.  There is of course no guarantee. 

Would you agree that you invest in your health by going to see your doctor?   Again there is no guarantee.  But my guess is you rarely look at paying the doctor as an investment. 

Yet when it comes to advertising and marketing agencies it seems that the word investing is nowhere to be found.  Maybe it was John Wanamaker that got things started off on that angle – ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted the trouble is I don’t know which half.’    Big help he was. 

The smaller the business the more it seems that any allocated marketing dollars are deemed to be spending that the business wishes it did not have to outlay.  Larger companies often have a better understanding of the value of investing marketing dollars but when budgets are slashed (a common term during the recession) what they are slashing is spending.   I venture a guess that not one company that reduced its marketing budget described it as reducing their marketing investment.   It doesn’t quite sound the same does it? 

Now that the recession seems to be waning wouldn’t it be great if the term marketing investment became part of the lexicon?   Most marketing agencies are filled with dedicated and accomplished professionals.   No less professional than lawyers, investment advisors and yes stock brokers.   People are comfortable using the term investment when it comes to the latter.   Marketing agencies and their affiliated partners should be solely focused on helping their clients maximize their marketing investment.   How about clients start referring to it that way?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
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