The Guns vs. Butter Model for Your Business



If you ever took a Macroeconomics course, you probably read about the Guns vs. Butter model. Wikipedia refers to the discussion in the following terms:

In macroeconomics, the guns versus butter model is an example of a simple production possibility frontier. It demonstrates the relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods. In this example, a nation has to choose between two options when spending its finite resources. It can buy either guns (invest in defense/military) or butter (invest in production of goods), or a combination of both. This can be seen as an analogy for choices between defense and civilian spending in more complex economies.

Politicians and others have utilized the phrase for generations in varying circumstances. My analogy here equates guns to marketing & social marketing and butter to the overall health of your website. All organizations have finite marketing resources to devote to their online presence. The question / decision is in how to allocate those funds and ultimately the effectiveness of their utilization.

My recommendation is that while there is an abundance of sizzle in the marketplace, e.g., Facebook’s IPO, mobile marketing, etc., your primary effort (your butter) should be the continual health and evolution of your website. Everything else matters, but nothing else matters more.

Compare your website to that of your competitors and seek opportunities to improve. Monitor your organic rankings in the search engines for your most important keywords and fine-tune your SEO as a result. To be fair, the lines between social media and SEO have become quite blurry and it’s understood that effective utilization of social media can boost your presence in the universal search results. First priority though, should always be your website itself.

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