Definition of Surplus Value

Surplus value in digital marketing refers to the additional value created by a marketing activity or campaign, which results in a higher return than the initial investment. This value can be measured in terms of increased revenue, brand awareness, or customer engagement. Essentially, it captures the positive difference between the cost of marketing efforts and the benefits they generate.


The phonetics of the keyword “Surplus Value” is /ˈsɜrpləs ˈvæljuː/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Surplus value is the difference between the value produced by a worker in a specified time period and the amount they are paid for that labor – it represents the profit generated for the capitalist.
  2. Surplus value is a central concept in Marxist economic theory, as it exposes how capitalists profit from the exploitation of workers, who do not receive the full value of their labor.
  3. Increasing surplus value can be achieved through increasing worker productivity or decreasing labor costs, often leading to a drive towards mechanization, longer working hours, and lower wages, which contributes to economic inequality and class struggle.

Importance of Surplus Value

The term Surplus Value is important in digital marketing because it refers to the additional value that a company can create through effective marketing strategies, which ultimately leads to increased customer satisfaction and a higher return on investment (ROI). By focusing on Surplus Value, digital marketers seek to go beyond basic marketing tactics by providing customers with exceptional experiences and valuable content that encourages brand loyalty, elevates customer engagement, and promotes long-term business growth.

This additional value sets companies apart from competitors, helping them to thrive in a competitive digital landscape and better connect with their target audience.


Surplus Value serves as a critical measure within the realm of digital marketing, as it highlights the added value generated by marketing campaigns or efforts beyond the original investment. The purpose of Surplus Value is to help businesses and marketers quantify the profitability and effectiveness of their digital marketing initiatives.

By quantifying the value created, companies can make data-driven decisions to continue, modify, or scrap certain marketing efforts. In essence, Surplus Value represents the difference between the overall revenue generated through these campaigns and the costs associated with producing and distributing them.

In utilizing Surplus Value, digital marketers aim to maximize the return on investment (ROI) across all marketing channels. This enables marketers to optimize their strategies by identifying which campaigns and tactics yield the highest surplus value, allocating more resources towards them, and making the necessary adjustments to underperforming ones.

Tracking and measuring Surplus Value are integral to the long-term sustainability and growth of a business, as it allows for informed decision-making and the effective allocation of marketing budgets, leading to increased competitiveness and profitability in an increasingly digital landscape.

Examples of Surplus Value

Surplus Value refers to the increase in a product’s value due to additional features, improvements, or other enhancements that make it more appealing to consumers. In the digital marketing realm, surplus value often arises from successful marketing campaigns that effectively position a product as offering unique benefits, extra functions, or improved user experience. Here are three real-world examples related to Surplus Value in digital marketing:

Apple Inc.: The tech giant effectively adds surplus value to its products through its marketing campaigns, unique product design, and seamless ecosystem. Apple devices, like the iPhone, are often considered more valuable by consumers due to their sleek designs, perceived durability, and ease of integration with other Apple products. Apple also invests heavily in advertising to portray its brand as high-quality, innovative, and exclusive, further contributing to this surplus value.

Amazon Prime: Amazon created surplus value when it introduced the Amazon Prime subscription service, which offers additional value beyond standard shopping. Subscribers benefit from free two-day shipping, access to exclusive deals, and streaming of popular TV shows and movies as well as music. By bundling these services within a single subscription, Amazon Prime has become more attractive to consumers and generated a higher perceived value than standalone shopping or streaming services.

SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms: Many SaaS platforms offer surplus value by providing an all-in-one solution to clients, bundling various services and functions into one platform. For example, digital marketing tools like HubSpot provide customers with an integrated solution for managing web content, email marketing, social media management, and analytics. By delivering a range of services through a single platform, SaaS providers can create a higher perceived value for customers, facilitating higher pricing and loyalty among users.

FAQ – Surplus Value

What is surplus value?

Surplus value is a concept in Marxist economics, which refers to the excess value produced by workers in a capitalist society over and above the wages they are paid. In simple terms, it is the profit generated by an employer from the labor of their employees.

How is surplus value calculated?

Surplus value is calculated by subtracting the value of wages paid to workers from the total value generated by the workers’ labor. The formula for surplus value is: Surplus Value = Total Value of Production – Variable Capital (wages paid to workers).

What is the significance of surplus value in Marxist theory?

Surplus value is a key concept in Marxist economic theory, as it provides the foundation for understanding how exploitation occurs in a capitalist system. According to Marx, the surplus value generated by workers is the source of profit for capitalists, and this creates an inherent conflict of interest between the two classes – the workers and the capitalists.

What role does surplus value play in the capital accumulation process?

Surplus value plays a crucial role in the capital accumulation process. When employers extract surplus value from workers’ labor, they use the profits to invest in expanding their business, increasing productivity, or investing in other ventures. This process of reinvesting surplus value into further accumulation of capital is central to the expansion and growth of capitalist economies.

How does the concept of surplus value relate to the concept of exploitation?

The concept of surplus value is directly linked to the idea of exploitation in Marxist theory. Exploitation occurs when capitalist employers appropriate the surplus value generated by their workers for their own profit. In other words, workers are not fairly compensated for the value they create through their labor, leading to a system of economic inequality based on the wealth extraction from the working class.

Related Digital Marketing Terms


  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Value Proposition


Sources for More Information

  • Investopedia –
  • Economics Help –
  • Course Hero –
  • Digital Marketer –
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