This one of my favorite comedy bits by comedian, Pat Brice, who unfortunately passed away a couple years ago. It came to mind today when I was considering the differences between a word-of-mouth and traditional, media driven strategy.
Do you rent or do you own your marketing?
A traditional, media driven strategy is like renting. Smaller upfront investment and less risky. If something goes wrong, you call the landlord and they fix it. But the problem is that you never own it. You gotta keep paying “rent” (buying media) to stay in the game.
But a word-of-mouth strategy is a lot like buying and owning a home. It’s bigger upfront investment and if something goes wrong, you own it and have to fix it. But over time, you build equity in your home and your investment pays off. Word-of-mouth is very similar. Over time, the consumers start talking about your brand and you don’t have to keep paying rent to maintain awareness and improve image.
The big question is whether you have the patience for that investment to pay off.