Logic vs. Emotions: How To Make Better & Faster Marketing Investment Decisions For Your Small Business

Are you a small business owner who invests in marketing and advertising?

Do you often wonder whether you’re making the best investments for your business?

Often, it isn’t a clear-cut decision.

I’ve spent decades making countless million-dollar marketing and advertising investment decisions.

As the years went by, I had access to more quantitative data to analyze and assist me in making these decisions.

Despite all the research I’ve had at my disposal, I always felt like the numbers alone never told the whole story.

There may be times when you’re evaluating advertising investment options, and the costs and quantitative research are similar.

And what do you do then?

Blend Emotions With Logic

At this point, you might rely on other factors beyond costs such as your past experiences, emotions, and even your intuition.

And there’s nothing wrong with this.

In my experience, a healthy blend of logic and emotions often garnered exceptional results.

An interesting study by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio found that decisions are almost impossible to make using logic alone.

Damasio studied people who had brain damage in areas that generate emotions. These people seemed normal on the surface but were not able to feel any emotions.

Since they couldn’t experience emotions, they were not able to make any decisions.

Damasio discovered that these subjects could logically discuss the pros and cons of various options, but as soon as they were asked to make a decision, they simply couldn’t.

This suggests that at the point of actual decision making, emotions play a critical role.

Even decisions we think are based on stats and logic have some emotion behind them.

This is because the point of actual decision making relies upon emotions.

What generally works best for me is to first analyze all the quantitative data I have, and then use some emotion or intuition.

In business, we are often trained to value logic over emotions. There is definitely something to be said for this.

I’d sometimes feel guilty when I thought I allowed my emotions to come into play in making advertising investment decisions.

But instead of feeling guilty or conflicted, what I needed was a defined framework to allow a healthy mix of logic and emotion to coexist.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Making A Marketing Investment Decision

I realized I consistently asked myself the same 5 questions before I had to make a final decision as to whether to invest in an advertising/marketing program.

So, this is the framework or “test” I use.

#1) What’s the real cost of the investment?

Besides the obvious total cost of a marketing or advertising initiative, one way to determine whether it is worthwhile is to consider what’s “under the hood” of the total cost.

In other words,

  • How many qualified people will you reach with this investment?
  • Are the people you’re reaching in your desired target audience?
  • What is the average cost to advertise per person?
  • What is the cost of your/your employees’ time to execute such a program?
  • Besides the actual cost of the investment, what other costs are associated with the program?
  • How will you determine whether the program is successful?

There can be considerable resources required besides the actual dollar amount you pay for the marketing program.

Having as much knowledge as possible before you commit to any marketing investment is key.

#2) What’s the worst that can happen if you move ahead with the investment?

In addition to spending a certain sum of money, what other factors can arise that could threaten the success of your marketing campaign?

There are internal factors you can control, and external factors you can’t.

If the campaign doesn’t deliver as it was originally promised to you, what recourse, if any, do you have?

For example, if a digital ad campaign doesn’t reach the number of people you were originally guaranteed, what recourse, if any, do you have as a business owner/marketer to “make good” on this?

If you’re investing a significant amount of money, it’s wise to have an attorney look over the contract before you sign it.

#3) What’s the cost of NOT moving ahead with the investment?

Doing nothing is hard, you never know when you're done.

I used to get hung up on “what if this happens,” “what if that happens” when evaluating various ad investment options.

However, I rarely considered the flip side of this scenario.

And that is, what if you did nothing?

What if you don’t invest any money in marketing or advertising for your business?

Chances are you won’t know the answer to this unless you really do nothing. Only then, you might wonder how much more successful you may have been if you invested in marketing in the first place!

This situation reminds me of the old saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

But there may be times when doing nothing pays off.

Or instead of paying for ads, you can choose to focus on non-paid marketing tactics, such as word of mouth, publicity, and organic social media posts.

However, at the end of the day, businesses usually don’t grow if you don’t get the word out in one way or another.

#4) Does the program align with the business’ larger goals and initiatives?

There will be times when you see a “cool” marketing idea that is trendy.

There’s nothing wrong with investing in something like this for your business. It could even work out well.

But before you rush to plunk down your money, ask yourself whether this marketing program truly fits within with your overall business objectives…or do you just like it because it’s the “shiny new object?”

Take the time to thoroughly evaluate a potential marketing investment from all possible angles.

This can save you frustration, time, and money.

#5) What else would you do with that money (if you didn’t invest it in marketing/advertising)?

Normally when you’re considering investing in advertising, there is more than one option to choose from. Sometimes there are dozens of options you could consider with any given marketing budget.

After considering the potential benefits of each option, you may decide that your budget would be better spent in a completely different area of your business.

For example, you could consider investing that money into other non-marketing business expenses or simply adding that dollar amount to your bottom line.

The main takeaway is that every advertising investment is a unique cost/benefit scenario. You constantly have to weigh the investments with the potential advantages that can benefit your business.

Create Your Decision-Making Framework

Thinking through decisions with the right combination of logic and emotion can help you make reliable decisions for your business.

The key is you can’t depend on only one of these two.

You should also find the best time of day for you to make important marketing investment decisions (or any decisions involving spending money) so you can use your best judgment.

I’ve found that when I make decisions at the end of the day when I’m tired, it often doesn’t work out well.

Setting up a simple framework and process for important decision making can give you the confidence you need to make sound choices, and in turn, can boost your bottom line.

P.S. If you’re a marketer or small business owner and need help with any of this, feel free to message me, Dina Marovich, on LinkedIn.

Dina Marovich

Marketing Consultant, Direct Response Copywriter & Advertising Strategist. Meaningful results for your business.

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