In the Race to the Bottom, there are no Winners

4th June, 2013 - 5 minutes read

When it comes to making a purchase many look for the lowest price they can find. It goes without saying that you want the best deal you can get, regardless of what you are buying. But the best deal doesn’t always mean the lowest price. And at what stage does the quest for a low price blind the purchaser to quality?

A recent example of consumers’ obsession with price leading to disaster was the ‘horsemeat scandal’. The food industry, supermarkets in particular, is a highly competitive market place. When it comes to food shopping consumers keep a close eye on costs and are willing to shop around to find the best prices. Unfortunately, to a lot of people, price is more important than quality. To avoid losing customers supermarkets, suppliers and abattoirs have to keep prices down and avoid passing on rising costs to the customer. The pressure of beating inflation and keeping prices down eventually (and inevitably) told and horsemeat appeared in food, along with a host of other stomach churning ‘ingredients’.

People don’t have a clue what they are eating, but they know exactly how much they are paying. They don’t care what they are eating, as long as the price is right they are happy. This means they have little right to get angry when it turns out their food is full of horrible things. Why are they surprised? If they were willing to pay the actual price of food in the first place they wouldn’t have had such a nasty wakeup call. The same can be said of almost anything.

Horsemeat and Online Marketing

What has horsemeat got to do with marketing and more specifically, online marketing? It’s simple. It doesn’t matter what you are buying, you get what you (are willing to) pay for. Spend as little as possible on food and you eat rubbish; spend as little as possible on online marketing and you get terrible performance.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people offering ‘online marketing’ at rock bottom prices. The industry equivalent of horsemeat. What’s worse is that businesses are still falling for their offers and buying cheap online marketing services that promise the world.

Eventually the client will become frustrated with poor performance and the supplier earns a bad reputation. The industry as a whole has had its reputation tarnished by such operatives for too long. SEOMoz, a leading SEO software provider and industry resource, recently re-branded to just MOZ. One of the reasons they cited was that the term SEO is shrouded in negativity and carries undesirable connotations.

Nobody wins in the long run when online marketing is sold cheap. The client might save a few pounds at first but ultimately their money will be completely wasted and they’ll have nothing to show for it. They will have to start all over again from square one, at great expense.

In the last decade the internet has become a vital part of almost every industry and it certainly isn’t going anywhere any time soon. If your target market aren’t transacting on the web then you can bet that they are using it to carry out research or look for information. Everyone with money to spend has access to the internet and this means that more and more companies are investing in online marketing.

If you want to compete don’t fuel your company on horsemeat. Cheapest isn’t best. All you’ll be left with is a bitter taste in your mouth. Spend the right amount on a quality online marketing service and you’ll enjoy the benefits without any horrible surprises. Understand what you are paying for and appreciate the results.