Marketing is Now Free! (Or is it?)

I was listening to an audiobook this morning on the way to work. What caught my attention was a statement, with considerable discussion after it, proclaiming that “marketing is now free.”
Wow! Marketing is now free! Really?
One thing that all business owners know is that nothing is free. Everything has a cost. For most businesses the greatest cost is employee salary and benefits. For a sole proprietorship, the greatest cost is time. This is money.
The other cost, which is perhaps even greater for a business is what is called “opportunity cost”—the cost of not doing some activity in favor of another activity. In other words, not doing something because you are doing something else is a potential opportunity cost. Wasting time not only accrues personnel costs, but it also distracts personnel from doing things that will benefit the business in the future.
Sure, Facebook, email campaigns, posting on Twitter, blogging, and so on can be very beneficial to a business—there is no doubt about this—but the costs of setting them up and maintaining them can be substantial. Many times, especially if done ineffectively, these costs will greatly surpass the value of additional sales or clients.
The opportunity costs can be much greater. At Kona Impact, we see people every day that have incorrect information about the value of some online marketing tools and actions. Pursuing these ill-advised pathways are not only a waste of effort for the activity itself, but also act distract the business from something that will be much more effective.
The true cost of any online marketing—whether initially free or not—include the staff time necessary to setup and maintain the tool, but also the opportunities lost by pursuing those tools.
At Kona Impact, we understand the big picture of online marketing—what works and doesn’t work—as well as the very real costs engaging in these activities. We never proscribe a client a laundry list of social media activities or set up blogs that are likely to be seldom used. Instead, we work with clients and guide them to the most productive marketing tools and activities for their circumstance.