Should Marketers Rent Or Buy?

Brian Halligan - HubSpot CEO - gave a great marketing startegy interview on earlier this week.  In the interview, Mr. Halligan drew an interesting parallel between renting and buying as an online marketer:

Marketers are traditionally renters. They rent space on shelves, they rent space in Adwords, they rent space at tradeshows or they rent giant lists to cold call from. None of this is anything they own.

We believe that the best way to market a product or service is to create assets that you own and can nurture. Things like unique content, links, Facebook fans, Twitter followers are assets that stick around and, from a monetary aspect, can cost a lot less than the old model.

I dig the analogy.  Here is my addition $.02:

  • For start-up marketers, it probably make sense to begin with a rental strategy to find your audience and hone your message.  It takes a lot of effort to develop "owned" marketing assets, so I suggest investing wisely.
  • Halligan makes the argument for quantity over quantity.  Even though he has internal data to support his claim, I think that this is a fine line.  HubSpot generates a ton of content and I read none of it.   Other companies and bloggers publish less frequently, but I read every single piece they produce.  Depends on your target customers - are they sophisticated or are they beginners?
  • Creating is more valuable than sharing in the long run.  I'm blown away by the number of social media marketers that seem to think that curation is just as important as creation.
  • Content marketing is a habit.  The recent rebirth of The Boggs Blog is my effort to get back in the habit.