increase in sales not worth ad costs

better_in_time

Senior Member
Chinese, Thai
I am trying to write the undelined sentence below and I am not sure if it's grammatical. (i.e., can I use "worth" in this way?) Please let me know if I can improve it. The idea is that the increase in sales from using TV ads may be lower than the cost of TV ads.

There are several disadvantages of advertising on TV. First, the increase in the number of sales may not worth the increase in ad expenses.

Thanks
 
  • I am trying to write the undelined sentence below and I am not sure if it's grammatical. (i.e., can I use "worth" in this way?) Please let me know if I can improve it. The idea is that the increase in sales from using TV ads may be lower than the cost of TV ads.

    There are several disadvantages in advertising on TV. First, the increase in the number of sales may not be worth the increase in ad expenses.

    Thanks

    Yes, you can use worth that way, but the phrases are 'disadvantages in" and "be worth" to get the sense you want.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, you can use worth that way, but the phrases are 'disadvantages in" and "be worth" to get the sense you want.
    You think that First, the increase in the number of sales may not worth the increase in ad expenses. is OK? Is this an AE usage?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I wouldn't use "number of sales" here, either. The number of sales is what you get if you count each sale as 1 and keep counting until you have counted all of them. That is not a relevant figure here, since it counts the sale of a 99¢ pencil as the same as the sale of a $999 computer, or a $10 ashtray as the same as a $10,000 set of furniture for a home.

    I would use "sales volume," "sales revenue" or some other term that reflects what the sales are worth, not how many of them there are.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Be sure you compare like with like: the increase in expenses is a sum of money, so you need an item like the extra sales revenue which is also a sum of money.

    The concept of the margin need to remain intact too: in both cases we are dealing with changes. Sales volume or sales revenue are not implicitly changes in these entities.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Be sure you compare like with like: the increase in expenses is a sum of money, so you need an item like the extra sales revenue which is also a sum of money.

    The concept of the margin need to remain intact too: in both cases we are dealing with changes. Sales volume or sales revenue are not implicitly changes in these entities.
    As a semi-retired business school professor, with a bunch of rigorous peer-reviewed papers in my vita, I don't think we should be quite so pedantic here.

    The original phrase does not compare sales with the increase in ad expenses. It simply says that one may not justify the other. Two items need not be commensurate to make that assessment. I can, for example, say that going to a party in Sydney, Australia (given that I'm on the east coast of North America) may not be worth two days of travel time to get there. Meals and travel time are not like and like, but the statement is still valid. Or, the increased pleasure I would get from a newly painted living room may not be worth the cost of painting it. I'm sure readers of this thread can come up with their own examples to make this same point.

    If the original statement had been a direct comparison, extra sales revenue is still not what we should look at. In that case, we should look at the incremental profit from that extra revenue. That is usually a much smaller figure. However, that is not the situation in the original post.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    You think that First, the increase in the number of sales may not worth the increase in ad expenses. is OK? Is this an AE usage?
    You may rest assured that this is not an American usage.

    I can't speak for Dale Texas, but I think he or she was trying to say that the word "worth" itself made sense in the sentence, but that it needed a verb to work gramatically.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Personally I would turn he phrase around, if only because that is the way I think. This is an "if, then" sort of discussion. The increase in advertising would be the "if" for me; the increase in sales would be the "then". (This is not entirely accurate but that is how my mind would work.)

    The increased cost of advertising may not yield a commensurate increase in sales.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Personally I would turn he phrase around, if only because that is the way I think. This is an "if, then" sort of discussion. The increase in advertising would be the "if" for me; the increase in sales would be the "then". (This is not entirely accurate but that is how my mind would work.)

    The increased cost of advertising may not yield a commensurate increase in sales.
    I like this phrasing, but unfortunately it changes the meaning. "Commensurate" implies a direct comparability that the original, less formal, "be worth" doesn't. Once you change from the informal concept of "being worth it," in some unspecified way, to the specific statement of being commensurate, you have to worry about all the things that Thomas Tompion and I discussed earlier. In particular, while you can compare the increase in sales with the cost of advertising (they're both financial quantities), you shouldn't - though many businesspeople do, and make bad decisions as a result.

    Suppose I sell vegetable slicers at $10 each and am considering an ad campaign that would cost $1,000. If the increase in sales was what mattered, selling 100 more slicers as a result of this campaign would mean I break even. However, that's not how things work. Nobody gives me free vegetable slicers to sell. They cost me something, either to manufacture or to buy from someone who manufactures them. Suppose they cost me $6 each. In that case, the profit on each one is $10 - $6 = $4. I have to sell 250 more slicers, not 100, to break even. I will then get $2,500 in revenue. Of that amount, $1,500 goes to pay for the cost of the slicers. The remaining $1,000 pays for the ad campaign. If I sell more than 250 slicers, I make money; fewer, I lose money.

    Fortunately, the original "be worth" phrasing lets us avoid all of this! :)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I worry that intellectual rigour is going by the board here. Take this sentence from the OP - The idea is that the increase in sales from using TV ads may be lower than the cost of TV ads. The question is whether the value of the extra sales is or is not lower than the cost of the extra TV ads.

    We are now being told that the increase in sales is a financial quantity, but every serious student knows that we need to distinguish between sales volume and sales value (volume times typical price). Failure to make this distinction leads to the kind of vagueness which marks the sentence I quote above from the OP.

    One problem in the phrasing may stem from a failure to distinguish between what something is worth and whether something is worthwhile.

    The extra advertising may be worthwhile if it engenders sales worth more than the cost of the advertising.
     
    Right. It needs the verb "be". The increase in the number of sales may not be worth the increase in ad expenses. I certainly understood the original question to be a grammatical question. It was not grammatical as presented without "be," the verb, but is now grammatical with the insertion of it.


    As to proper business meaning, I have to tread very lightly indeed, being particulary dense on such subjects, and cannot advise much further, only to say that, even given a context of an intended meaning that a resultant sales increase in revenue from TV ads might not cover the cost of the ads themselves, (may not be worth), that implies the opposite possbility that the ads might in fact cover those costs (may be worth).

    As an opening sentence spoken in a boardroom I would hear it as cautionary advice not to expect instant short-term profit from the ads but to hold on tight for possible long term benefits.

    If that is all it is, then I'd agree with Egmont that further parsing might be too pedantic.

    But as Thomas points out, "worth" has another meaning here, that of being worthwhile: It might not be worth all the time and trouble and expense to go ahead with the launch of these TV ads.

    As it stands right now, both meanings of worth make sense to me, both as value and as reasonable effort.
     
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