My father-in-law is one of the thriftiest people I know. Price is the only factor that crosses his mind. If you asked him, he’d say he was a value conscious person. On the flip-side, one of my closest friends refuses to buy a work shirt or coat unless the name “L.L. Bean” or “Columbia” is on the front. If you asked him he’d say he was a value conscious person too.
So how can two people spending very different amounts of money on every single item both believe they are focused on value? Answer: my father-in-law really isn’t. He buys a coat every year, spends hours every winter repairing broken zippers, and complains about the number of layers he has to put on under a coat to stay warm. There is no value to what he’s doing; he’s simply reacting quickly to a low price.
An investment in the most powerful and visible marketing tool you have should be no different than buying the work shirts that you put on every morning or the work vehicle you drive every day. None of them should be built just to get you through today, this season, or even this year.
You may be reading this and saying to yourself, “I don’t have a problem spending more money if what I get is going to be at the cutting edge of design, and my visitors are blown away.”
Being thrifty and being trendy have the same problem. They are focused on the here and now, and both end up costing far more in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I love Armani clothing. I love to see great design walking down the streets of New York. I believe that part of the je ne sais quoi of the French people is their insatiable love of design and beauty in all things. But beauty is not trendy. A Dior dress on Audrey Hepburn is beautiful because it stands the test of time. You can meld beauty with functionality so that the visitor is not only visually stimulated, but is converted to a customer.
A little black Dior dress, a Columbia parka, and well-designed website are all form and function. They are an investment that is meant to pay dividends for the long-term as well as catch the eye right now.