Foundational debt can really hinder the development of your business. Unfortunately, it’s something we see time and time again with our clients. Well-meaning businesses ready to take the next step and market their business end up spending thousands of dollars to get… absolutely nowhere. Or worse, they find themselves in a marketing or PR hole they now have to claw their way out of.

Foundational debt only leaves you frustrated, burned and hesitant to try something new — or invest valuable company resources into marketing ever again.

What exactly is this debt we speak of? Bottom line: if you’ve spent money on marketing but didn’t see the results you were promised and then had to spend more money to clean up the mess, you have experienced foundational debt.

Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with a marketing agency or were convinced to spend your entire marketing budget on a website you can’t manage on your own. You shopped on price, found someone who could make your website look pretty on the front end, but when technology changed, all you were left with was a website only the original agency could manage.

Perhaps you’ve poured thousands into content creation with an agency, but they did nothing for your branding or overall lead generation. Or maybe you poured money into graphic design for a new, edgy logo, but you have neither the messaging nor the lead generation strategy to support it.

We’ve worked with businesses who have fallen victim to click-bait advertising that ultimately hurt their brand because the new ads and messaging didn’t align with their company offerings. We’ve also seen businesses that are still recovering from a social media attempt gone bad, such as paying a cheap price for the promise of earning thousands of new likes on Facebook. Although numbers can be tempting, with this type of marketing scheme, all you end up with is a large number of likes from people who are not in your target audience. What’s even worse is finding out the agency has been producing and promoting deceptive ads that will hurt your brand in the long run.

Granted, foundational debt isn’t always the fault of a bad agency. Sometimes it’s the result of internal chaos. Are your salespeople, customer service team members and leaders all telling the same story? If no one is on the same page, you’re only creating confusion in the marketplace.

Maybe your foundational debt is the result of internal politics that leave the various divisions of your business each wanting a separate brand — different websites, marketing collateral, etc. — but nobody stops to think strategically about how that impacts the overall business. Without cohesiveness across all aspects of your business, you could miss out on revenue because your audience doesn’t realize another division of your business even exists.

These are all examples of what we call “foundational debt.” It’s painful. It’s costly. But it’s absolutely essential to make the necessary investment to clean up your infrastructure and processes so you can finally see the results you’ve been waiting for. It’s not sexy, and money spent on foundational debt doesn’t always lead to direct sales. But it is the key to getting your marketing strategy back on track. You’ve gotta do it.

Look at it this way. You wouldn’t build a brand-new home on a damaged foundation. Before you’re able to begin building the home of your dreams, you must first have a stable, rock-solid foundation. Whether or not your home features carrara marble or laminate won’t matter if your house crumbles from a bad foundation. You’ll never see the money spent on a home’s foundation, but the investment will yield return in other ways. Namely the peace of mind knowing your home is built on a firm foundation.

The same is true for your marketing strategy. If your foundation isn’t solid, with all the proper processes in place to handle leads when they come in through online advertising, or your back office isn’t properly trained to handle increased call volumes, none of the other, “sexy” marketing stuff matters.

Foundational debt doesn’t scare us. And we don’t want it to scare you either. Let’s work together to either clean up past marketing mistakes or ensure you don’t end up with foundational debt, and get your marketing strategy on track for a successful future. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you get out of foundational debt.