Why We Do What We Do

Greg Lowe

February 29, 2012

According to the most celebrated economist of all time, your business should probably be hiring an advertising agency.  In his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations, famed economist Adam Smith strongly asserted the benefits of specialization.  Individuals and companies, he suggested, are better off focusing on economic activities for which they have unique resources and “trading” for other services.  In other words, businesses should stick to what they do best!  They should focus their resources on their primary, profit-producing activities and should “trade” for other activities – including advertising.

Let’s be honest, advertising is probably not your business’ strength.  Instead, you make widgets.  Or, perhaps you service widgets, distribute widgets, help people’s widgets not to hurt anymore, or put braces on people’s widgets.  You get the idea – you are in the widget business, not the advertising business.  You are good at what you do, and your resources – time, money, employees – are limited.  Likely, those resources will be most economically effective when applied to your profit-producing activities.

But, you are a wise maker (or stylist, caretaker, painter) of widgets and you recognize the need to promote your goods or services.  You correctly understand the need for marketing and advertising activities in order to maintain a healthy flow of customers and revenue.  Fortunately for your business, you’ve also studied your classical economic theory.  You recognize that producing your own promotional materials takes resources away from your profit producing activities.  Significantly, it also often results in poorly produced and ineffective advertising materials.

So, go ahead – high five that Invisible Hand!  Embrace free-market economics, division of labor, and great advertising.  Keep grooming, massaging, and deep fat frying those widgets.  Stick to what you do best.  While you’re busy making money, let an agency do what it does best – produce great advertising.