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Eat your fruits and vegetables every day, take your vitamins, put money into a savings account … advice people hear often and just as often brush off. Most people prefer chocolate cake over broccoli.
But we love the benefits of taking good advice, don’t we?
The same goes for marketing. I’ve been sharing my marketing advice with business owners for decades. What I’ve learned throughout the years, blogging and talking to people I meet, is that the truth isn’t always easy to digest.
There is one specific piece of marketing advice that is the most hated of all among my 100,000-plus small business clients — and only a small percentage of them practice it.
The advice is simple: Market your business more than anyone else thinks is sane. You might assume that I am saying this because I sell marketing and I can profit from this advice, but it really doesn’t matter who you market with. Whether you do your own marketing or hire a different professional, the principle still applies. The more you market, the more you will be successful, and here is some proof to back it up.
The most successful businesses in America market like crazy
If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided he wanted to become the best bodybuilder in the world, he looked to the top player himself, Reg Park, who won the title of Mr. Universe three times.
For years, Schwarzenegger did everything Park did — he followed his workout plans, his eating habits, and then Schwarzenegger moved to the United States to train with other top bodybuilders. Schwarzenegger became so good at competing that he even beat his idol, Park, in 1970.
The reality is that when you market like crazy, you can outdo the biggest competitors in your industry. Take these big-name businesses for example, that dedicate more than 20% of their budgets on marketing and achieve a huge return on investment:
Fintech company PayPal’s marketing budget of 6.55% revenue led to 7% revenue growth in fiscal year 2023
SaaS company Atlassian’s marketing budget of 15-16% revenue led to 26% revenue growth in fiscal year 2023
Another SaaS company Asana’s marketing budget of 78.3% led to 45% year-over-year revenue growth in 2023
There’s a trend here: The more you spend, oftentimes the more your bottom line will grow.
Because I market like crazy, my business has grown like crazy
Since I started my business PostcardMania in 1998, the stubborn dedication to my marketing plan has brought my revenue from zero to $97 million annually. I started PostcardMania without investors or cash.
Today, I mail 180,000 postcards and spend $45,000 on online ads weekly. Since 2019, our annual revenue has grown 20% year over year following a decade of 5% growth. This year, our first quarter marked a new record for net revenue at over $25 million, and I can attribute this success to many things, but it starts with my marketing budget.
Specifically, in the early days, I spent more on marketing than I paid myself — and I still do — but, back then, it was a lot more painful. I drove the same, paid-off Nissan until we hit 8-digit revenues because I knew that the magnitude of my marketing had a direct impact on our growth — and growth was my #1 priority. I still believe that, and this year, we’re eyeing adding our 9th digit to our revenue.
So, I am living and breathing proof that this strategy works. I know it may feel daunting to throw so much budget into marketing, but trust the process. And make sure you track your results closely to grow the strategies that work and workshop the ones that don’t! It will pay off in the end.
I continue to market like crazy regardless of challenging times
This world isn’t all sunshine and roses. We’re currently operating in the worst inflation in over 20 years. However, challenging situations shouldn’t affect your marketing budget. Many businesses reduce or stop their marketing the second times get tough, but that is the very thing that is going to kill your revenue stream — or even your entire business.
Reports show that the total investment in advertising decreased by 10% in the United States after the pandemic occurred, and almost a quarter of all brands paused all their advertising. Coca-Cola, for example, cut its marketing spend by 35% and as a result, gave P&G (the makers of Pepsi) a competitive advantage. P&G kept their marketing spend the same in 2020 and ended up with a revenue growth of 4%, which set them up for an even stronger performance the following year.
I took the exact same road as P&G and didn’t change a thing when the shutdowns happened. I was determined to keep marketing going and not lay off anyone in my company. It paid off big time.
From mid-March to mid-April in 2020, PostcardMania’s weekly revenue plunged an average of 40%. We went from averaging $1.2 million a week to $730,000 a week — a difference of over $515,000.
I may have panicked a little, but I kept mailing out postcards every week, I kept up my digital advertising budget, and we quickly recovered. By April 24th, our revenue was back to over $1 million, and for the rest of the year, we averaged $1.3 million every week. By the time July rolled around, we set new records for highest revenue and then did it again in October. We also increased our staff numbers and bought a fifth digital press to enhance our production.
Despite the difficult economic climate, we ended 2020 up 10% from 2019, and then our gains compounded the following year. In 2021, our revenue jumped to $64 million from $84 million, which is more than a 30% growth in just one year.
Marketing like crazy, no matter what everyone else is doing (or thinks is sane), has been a huge game-changer for my company and many others — and it can do the same thing for you.