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Want to Increase Sales? Don't Buy Ads. You can buy marketing, sales or attention, but product-market fit should always take center stage.

By Adam Bornstein

This story appears in the September 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Federico Gastaldi

"I want to increase my sales. Does that mean I need to buy ads?" — Edward, St. Louis

Sure, you can buy sales. That's what paid media is — it gives you access to a large audience and helps you test your messaging. But there's a downside to it. Paid media can trick people into conflating sales with demand. It can also make entrepreneurs with smaller budgets feel like they have no shot at truly connecting with their audience.

I'm here to tell you that's not the case. You can buy your way into sales, but you can't buy your way into product-market fit — and that is the thing you should be most focused on.