When I was younger, I used to ride a bike – camping, rails-to-trails, around the neighborhood. Then I stopped, although I’m not sure why, or even when. Then, when I was 20, I decided I wanted to mix up my fitness regimen, so I got a bike. I figured it would work different muscles and all that jazz.
Yuck. What was I thinking? Since when did bike riding hurt so much? After maybe 3 rides, I put the bike away and pretty much forgot about it.
Fast forward 11 years. I meet a guy I think I want to date except … he rides bikes. 30, 40, 50 miles on a bike, almost every weekend. (Luckily, I met him in the winter, when it was snowy and too cold to ride, so I had a chance to decide if he was worth the pain or not.)
Turns out he was. So I got on a bike again. And of course it hurt, because what would have changed in the last 11 years? In the 2 years we’ve been riding together, however, I’ve learned a lot. Such as that when you see those cyclists on the road – you know, the ones you hate because they’re slowing down traffic? – wearing those tight and terribly dorky outfits? I learned that they're not wearing them as a fashion statement – they’re wearing them because they make riding bikes hurt less.
And I'm here to tell you that you get what you pay for it when it comes to those dorky clothes. That padding in the shorts is called a chamois, and the more you pay for it, the better your nether regions will feel after a ride. These shorts are not cheap, and when I personally bought my first pair, I – making about 1/3 of the money my boyfriend does – bought a cheap pair – $69.99.
This was NOT SMART. Suddenly, my nether regions were barely being protected and the next day I didn’t even want to look at a bike. So … you get what you pay for.
Also, bikes themselves are ridiculously expensive for what they are. My first bike? $800. My second bike? $1,100. (No, I didn’t pay for either of them.)
Quality Beats Quantity, Every Time
But what are you paying for, you ask? Well, the frame. The better the frame is – carbon fiber or titanium is best – the smoother your ride is. The lighter the material, the easier hills are. The more expensive disc brakes mean your stopping power is better and you won’t have to replace your tires as often. Clipless pedals – which of course mean you need different shoes – make pedaling twice as effective. And while a $20 helmet will protect your head just as well as a $200 helmet, there’s a difference in aerodynamics, air flow to keep your head cool or warm, and other considerations. The saddle makes a HUGE difference. Second only to the chamois. (Which is probably why you can pay hundreds of dollars for those, too.)
Add up all this money – the bike, the saddle, the clothes, the shoes, the helmet, etc. – and you discover that cycling is a hobby that can take you broke. (Incidentally, what’s with expensive sports? Skiing, golf, fishing … all expensive.)
So while you’re kind of appalled when you look at your credit card statement, you know you made the right choices when you get on the bike and take a ride. The same goes for marketing – you get what you pay for. A good bike is an investment in your comfort, and marketing is an investment in your business and its future. Without good strategy, solid experience, and talent, a marketing plan can quickly become a detriment instead of an asset. So while that agency’s price seems like a bargain, the long-term risks of going for a bargain instead of buying the best will negatively affect your bottom line. (And speaking of bottoms, stay away from bargained priced bikes, too!)
Taking the bargain will cost more when all is said and done. You saved money initially, with the cheap marketing agency, but they didn’t do it right and now you’re paying another agency to do it all over the right way.
Remember: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
(Oh, and while we’re on the subject of getting what you pay for, Oreos. With Oreos you also get what you pay for. Have you ever tasted a fake Oreo? If you haven’t, I don’t suggest it and if you have … I’m sorry. And socks. If you’ve never worn Gold Toe socks, your feet are missing out.)
Are there other areas in which you think you get what you pay for? Let us know in the comments.