“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

 –Henry Ford

After working as an engineer for Thomas Edison, Henry Ford launched out on his own to establish The Ford Motor Company in 1903. Five years later he released his famous Model T Ford automobile, and by 1918, half of all cars in America were Model T Fords. My humble opinion is that his success resulted from a combination of 4 things:Ford-4

  1. Ford’s remarkable vision and innovation.
  2. The development of the assembly line.
  3. Ford’s commitment to high wages for workers.
  4. Strategic and creative marketing efforts.

Early on, Ford launched numerous national ad campaigns. As the company began to be successful, he pulled back and greatly limited his advertising spend. Eventually, Model T sales began declining in the 1920s. Luckily, the company revitalized its advertising efforts under the leadership of Ford’s son, Edsel. Sales increased and Ford’s company went on to truly revolutionize the automobile industry in America.

The world has changed a lot since the days of Henry Ford, especially the marketing landscape. However, many marketing principles remain unchanged, including one principle based on MFord-1r. Ford’s quote above.

If you pull the batteries out of a clock and cause it to stop working, does time also stop? Of course not – time keeps on going whether your clock works or not. Similarly, if you pull the plug on marketing dollars you don’t really save money. You will likely make less money because you will have less customers.

Marketing = Customers = Money

Less Marketing = Less Customers = Less Money.Ford-2

As a business owner, I totally understand the struggle. It is tough to just stay in the black sometimes. No matter the size of your company or how long you have been in business, marketing will always need to be a priority. Otherwise, you may not be in business for long, or at minimum you will experience a drop in sales just like Henry Ford did in the 1920s. Marketing is not an expense, it is an investment.

Bottom line – You can’t afford to say you can’t afford marketing.

Food for thought – If modern day marketing tools were available to Mr. Ford 100 years ago, I wonder how he would have used them?


Josh Mancuso

Marketing Consultant