I’m in a local BNI* networking group and the question, “Should I buy Facebook ads?” almost always comes up when I tell a local business owner that I do marketing and advertising consulting. I disappoint them with my answer. Let me show you why.

One problem is that there are other “marketing” experts in these networking groups who only have one tool in their toolbox. They are in categories like “social media marketers” or “specialty advertising products.”

If you ask the social media marketing expert whether you should buy Facebook ads, what do you expect the answer to be?

How would you expect the specialty advertising expert to answer if you asked whether you should buy pens with your logo and phone number on them?

I don’t sell anything but advice, so my answer to both questions would be another question. Frustrating right? I’d want to know whether FB ads or branded items fit your overall marketing strategy. If you don’t have a strategy, you’re putting the cart ahead of the horse by asking about media channels like FB ads or even ball point pens and mugs.

“Should I have a marketing strategy?”

Now THERE’S a question!

The answer is yes. Do I sell strategies? Not really. We start with a conversation (not a sales pitch) to help us understand your business and its dimensions, culture and marketing goals. We help you figure out what your marketing budget ought to be. Only then can we begin to chart a course to help you uncover your own strategy and begin to answer the question of whether FB ads are the right thing for you.

It always comes down to helping a business owner make the highest and best use of the available resources. Time and Money are all you have to spend on marketing. In the beginning, you probably have more time than money and it’s a good thing to spend it wisely because you can’t get more of it. As you grow your business, you can start spending more money on marketing and less of your time as it grows increasingly precious.

“Should we have a conversation about strategy?”

Unless you’ve already got a great strategy, the answer is yes.

In one of my BNI presentations, I asked the group, “Should I take Grant Road or Kino Parkway?” I let that question hang in the air. Both are busy streets in my city. One goes East/West across town and the other is a North/South artery. Everyone had a puzzled look on their face until one very smart woman asked, “Where are you going, Dave?”

“BINGO!” I shouted.

Until I know where I’m going, any road will do.

And until you know what your strategy is, any old ad will probably be about as good as any other. Just like driving aimlessly, you’ll probably give up on it and go home and tell yourself that advertising just doesn’t work. Sometimes it works without a strategy but most of the time it doesn’t.

*If you’re in BNI, I welcome you to connect with me and schedule a 1-2-1 to chat about your business. I love connecting with fellow BNI members. Here’s a link to my profile.