I was reading an article today about B2B marketing and it contained the following line, “Confession 3. If we don’t meet our sales numbers this quarter, we might have to cut marketing budget, or even head count.”

This statement is very similar to one I often hear from small business owners, “I can’t afford to do any marketing.”

Why do people say things like that? Because they’re really confused. They view marketing as a nonessential expense or a luxury rather than a vital necessity. This couldn’t be more wrong. Marketing and promotion are as vital to your business as breathing is to your life. Less marketing activity results in fewer leads and ultimately declining and/or unviable sales. If you want more sales you need more qualified leads so you need to increase your marketing activity.

If you’re not making your sales numbers or if your sales are down compared to an earlier period, the first thing you have to do is increase your marketing and promotional efforts. Look at what has worked best in the past and repeat that in even greater volume. This will get your sales up and increase your income.

Start ups and severely crashed businesses will have a hard time paying for marketing and keeping bills current and so forth. If that’s the case, the business owner faces some tough decisions. The priority remains marketing. You’ve got to get those leads coming in, get them closed and money coming in the door. If that means paying some bills late, then that may be what you have to do. Better that than having continuously declining income and eventually going out of business.

It is possible to increase marketing activity without significantly increasing cost. Doing so requires hard work, an increased time investment in these actions and a few bright ideas. The brighter you are along this line the better.

No matter how you do it, if you see or are forecasting a slump in your income you had better get marketing activity cranked up and fast. This also applies to new businesses. You won’t get the business off the ground if you’re not marketing your butt off.