In the early stages, marketing and outreach is crucial to every business. Until you’ve generated significant interest in your offerings, growth will be stagnant. While some companies rely on word of mouth, most companies use marketing strategies to support that growth.

The type of marketing initiative that your company engages in can shape the future of its success — or its failure. The decision of how you choose to market your business can make it or break it.

What is paid marketing?

Much of the marketing industry, is based around paid marketing. Paid marketing involves paying someone else to display content. Such marketing is something that everyone engages with on any average day, through sponsored Facebook and Google search results, newspaper and TV ads, or sidebar ads on any website.

Paid marketing has significant drawbacks. Firstly, it’s disruptive. When you watch a commercial, or see a sidebar ad on a website, you’re not looking for that content; it is being displayed in place of what you are actually looking for. Most people ignore paid marketing content when they see it.

Secondly, paid marketing is unsustainable. A paid ad will disappear when the initial period of display expires, which means that a company must continue paying to display that content, or else entirely lose any ability of that advertising to generate interest and traffic for their company. As a result, paid marketing is terribly inefficient and ineffective most of the time. Just consider how often you genuinely pay attention to a sidebar ad on Google, or a pre-video ad on YouTube.

Is organic marketing better?

Organic marketing suffers from none of those drawbacks. Organic marketing is the creation of quality content, search engine optimization, social media strategy, and blogging to generate interest and publicity in the services of a given company. By having shareable content that can potentially go viral, organic marketing creates communities around companies and brings in regular visitors to their websites.

Another benefit of organic marketing is that it creates higher returns on investment for companies than an equivalent investment in paid marketing otherwise would, by over 300%. This is a result of the fact that when users engage with our content online, they are seeing it because they want to see it, in stark contrast to paid marketing.

Instead of having a link to an article promoting a company on the side of your Facebook feed when all the consumers really want to do is see what their friends are talking about, organic marketing puts consumers and companies in touch via the conversations taking place on the newsfeed itself. By making your company something that their social network is talking about, your business gets more and better publicity.

The content created by organic marketing is designed to insert your company into natural, everyday conversations, instead of attempting to force your way into the conversation. If 500 users click on a blog post related to your business that they see in their social media feeds as a result of an organic marketing campaign, they see that content because they choose to. Those 500 readers who actually want to see your content and learn more about your business is more valuable than 5,000 people seeing a sidebar ad on their Google search, or being forced to watch an ad for your business before they get to see their cat video on YouTube. That baseline of genuine interest makes organic marketing much more effective than paid marketing.

Case study

Consider the example of Tesla Motors. Unlike other car companies, Tesla does not rely on airing 30 second commercials on cable TV, or other paid marketing efforts. Tesla has built a passionate community surrounding their products by creating content and engaging people on social media sites such as Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Tesla has adeptly created a generation of brand ambassadors by producing content and marketing their products in such a way that people want to talk about it. This creates much more powerful outreach than a commercial or sidebar ad ever would.

The choice between organic and paid marketing can be a defining choice in whether your business is able to flourish. The creation of passionate advocates for your brand, of people willing to engage with your offerings without being forced to, is much more value than the small, temporary and disruptive exposure that paid marketing can give your business. When taking the leap of actively marketing your company, organic marketing can be the difference between success and failure.

Choose wisely.