Invest, Don't Spend, Your Marketing Dollars

When it comes to marketing your business, how many times have you heard the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money!”?

While in many cases this is practically true, it’s also misguided.

The most successful companies don’t “spend” their money, they invest it–growing their assets and market share. This results in less risk, and ultimately, better book value because every sale they gets ends up costing less, which results in more profit.

How does a business invest in marketing?

You bake it into your product.

Have your marketing efforts add value to your existing customers, so that they are better able to learn your products, and become experts who refer their friends your way. If give your marketing efforts multiple ways to win, then you will find unbelievably affordable ways to grow your business.

There are many ways you can do this, and we’ll get into that later in this article, but first, let’s discuss the concept of“acquired marketing (owning your assets or media)” versus “traditional marketing (renting your assets or media).”

What is acquired marketing?

We define acquired marketing as a method either in-house or outsourced that increases the equity of your business by having a formula or owned assets.

There are companies that sell you access to their earned value, and companies that help you build your own value, which we can call “owned media” or “earned media.”

A more traditional approach

If you choose to outsource your marketing, there are companies that invest in their own funnels to resell and that can lead to the scenarios below.

  • If a company offers to give you leads at a fixed price-per-lead, you may find yourself subjected to price raises or leads being given to a more promising buyer.
  • A company offers you a percentage of a spend model on advertising. They will be encouraged to have you spend as much money as possible, because how much money you spend directly affects them.

Essentially, companies that offer this type of model aren’t invested in the long-term wealth of your company, but rather the long-term value of your advertising contract with them.

Businesses that practice more traditional forms of marketing will advertise your business or product, but you may walk away with no assets or tools for the future. You may have gained new clients through the techniques that your hired company used, but you didn’t retain any value to continue that growth.

It’s important that if you do decide to part ways with a marketing company that you have gained valuable insights and assets to move your business forward in an impactful way.

Investing and owning your media

On the other hand, there are agencies who invest in your in your technology, processes, and people. This could be a more optimal method for your business. Find an agency that allows you to invest in your relationships by adding tangible, permanent value to your business.

By sharing key strategies and resources, you gain the insight and assistance to take your business to the next level. What this means is that even when you are no longer “buying” services from your marketing agency, you still retain the value of their evergreen investments.

Successful companies, including Salesforce, Microsoft, and Airtable, have found sustainable consulting and technology solutions that increase the joint value of their partners, customers, and owned assets.

Because these companies operate as platforms that are included in the company’s customer infrastructure, more confidence is transferred to potential investors and customers in the viability of the company’s solution.

This also applies to businesses specializing in marketing. For example, Hubspot offers a unique solution where you “rent” the software, but the content marketing, user flows, and UVPs (Unique Value Propositions) discovered are owned by your company.

Some considerations

When searching for a web or marketing agency, consider these points:

  • Buy marketing that you can transfer into owned assets.
  • Take into account the motivations of companies that have short-term, strictly-owned media that they sell to you (lead lists, percent of spend).
  • Ask yourself, “If I buy this service, what added value do I get?” For example, if someone advertised for you, get more than just leads–get the UVP.

Build a way of tracking owned assets, e.g., measure organic traffic, social traffic, email lists, and UVPs.

What this means for your business

Investing your money in your marketing efforts instead of just spending it gives you a better long-term investment. This is why developing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that relate to long-term initiatives are imperative to outsourcing and assigning key team leaders in your company.

The value in your business is your proven formula. Your business will succeed faster, with more equity and ultimately, more security.

Now, let’s dig in to some examples.

What are some examples of rented media and “Acquired Marketing Assets (owned media)”?


What you rent: With AdWords, you have access to the search network and a position on search. Once you stop paying, your position goes away and you don’t have search network access.

What you own: What you own through AdWords is information about the unique formula to succeed in PPC and customer demographic information you can use in other advertising methods.


What you rent: With SEO practices, you rent almost nothing, unless you pay for maintenance contracts for outreach and other partnerships.

What you own: Your relationships, links, positions on SEO, the content you created, and the unique funnel of traffic that will be difficult for your competition to replicate.

Custom software

What you rent: When it comes to custom software, SaaS is designed and developed for your business.

What you own: Generally, SaaS is almost always a rented produced. How could your business actually own a part of SaaS?

If you buy the software, you rent the infrastructure, but you build the systems. If you build the software, then you rent the labor and keep the infrastructure.

When considering SaaS as an owned asset, ask if your business should always have a developer on staff.

Your business’s future

Ultimately, the choice is yours when it comes to traditional marketing where you rent their services and spend your money or acquired marketing where you gain assets and invest your  money.

When you decide to invest your marketing dollars into owned media instead of just spending, you will find that they will be evergreen investments that continually add growth to your business. 

If you’re still curious about acquired marketing and if it will work for your business, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Pro Q today to discuss your options.

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