I hope not.
That’s not to say that buying advertising is a bad thing, as it can certainly help your product be seen by more potential customers, but if advertising is your only hope then you’re likely in big trouble.
Albert Lasker put it this way:
“The product that will not sell without advertising will not sell profitably with advertising.”
If you can’t move your product at all, advertising won’t help. Of course, if you’re able to sell some of it profitably, then ads could indeed be a good solution to increasing your volume.
Robert Stephens, the founder of Geek Squad, offered a similar thought when he said:
“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”
That one is a little trickier, as there are plenty of very remarkable products (the iPhone being a prime example) that are undeniably remarkable on their own, but they still choose to advertise to help reach a broader audience.
The difference is whether you are using advertising to reach more people, or if you require advertising to make things work at all. In the case of our clients, we have some of each. Some of our clients focus on basic marketing tactics (solid websites, active social media presence, engaging email pieces, etc) and that’s all they need. For others, those pieces help get the ball rolling and then some digital ads are able to take them to the next level.
You shouldn’t feel like you need to buy ads in order for your business work, but using them to expand your reach is always something worth considering.