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Stop Wasting Money on Marketing

You are probably wasting the money you are spending on marketing. You already suspect this, I know, but I’m here to tell you why you are right. (Hint: if you stopped every bit of spending on marketing campaigns right after you finish reading this column – would anybody really notice?)

Here are some basic principles to consider as you think about your marketing expenditures today:

  • Focus – if you don’t have a clear target audience, then in all likelihood, nobody is listening to you.

  • Differentiate – if your marketing activities consist of generic messages about your “capabilities”, you probably look like every other competitor out there.

  • Refresh – if you don’t develop your position and share your insights on a regular basis, your prospects and customers undoubtedly tuned out a long time ago.

  • Measure – if you aren’t getting a regular performance update from your marketing teams, then you are enabling a lack of accountability. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

In my experience, I would wager that somewhere between 75% and 90% of companies in the staffing and print industries are breaking at least one of these basic principles. The shame of it is that creating a marketing strategy with focused objectives, a well-defined target audience, meaningful content, and clear measurements is not really that hard to do! You don’t have to spend millions of dollars. You don’t need a huge marketing staff.

You just need to focus on the basics.

Five Steps to Eliminating Marketing Waste

Here’s an easy checklist of things you should do to stop wasting your marketing dollars:

  1. Do Some Research. This is fairly straight forward – spend some time on line, learning about your customers’ industries. Search for trends and market predictions. Dig in to uncover the challenges your Key Decision Makers are facing in today’s environment.

  2. Interview Your Customers. Conducting a “Voice of the Customer” survey will give you tremendous insight into how your best customers view your company, where they are going to fulfill other unmet needs, how they would describe what you do for them, and whether or not they are loyal.

  3. Develop a Point of View. There are literally thousands of companies that do what you do – so your point of view is what will differentiate you from your competitors and fuel your ongoing content development efforts. It’s the “We Believe” and “Why We’re Different” aspects of your messaging.

  4. Create a Plan. The most important part of the plan isn’t what campaigns you will run or what tactics you will use or what social media channels you will embrace. The critical part of the plan (and the most challenging) is to define what content you will produce to capture the attention of the Key Decision Makers that you want to reach.

  5. Execute. This is where you spend money on campaigns. It’s also where the most marketing money is wasted. Execution is about identifying prospects in the industries you’ve researched; conducting campaigns to reach prospects that look like customers you’ve interviewed; selecting a set of tactics to maximize the likelihood that these prospects will see you; and measuring the results (so you can accelerate or stop activities based on performance)

So, look at your marketing processes today and ask yourself:

  • Are we focused?

  • Are we differentiated?

  • Is our content refreshed regularly?

  • Can we measure our performance?

If the answer to any of these is “no” – then you are wasting money. Execution is the last thing to consider in a high performance marketing strategy - but it's often the thing that companies spend the most time discussing. Executing campaigns when you haven’t completed the basics of building your marketing strategy is a complete waste of money. So please, just stop. Send the money to your favorite charity. Or buy that property in Montana. Or go to Las Vegas and place it all on a single bet. You’ll get the same result from a marketing perspective but you might have more fun doing it.

To learn more about building an effective marketing strategy and stop wasting marketing dollars, download our Issue Brief: Why Your B2B Marketing Team is Failing.

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