How to stop your marketing budget being a waste of money

Have you ever looked your monthly or annual spend on Marketing, exhaled and silently said to yourself “This just isn’t working. I’m wasting time and money here”.

You’re not alone.

The uncomfortable fact is that for lots of businesses this statement is completely true. Whether they want to believe it or not is, of course, another matter.

Years ago, life used to be a lot simpler. Before the Internet, Digital Marketing and Social Media, there were a very limited number of ways that marketing could be transacted, and most of them included well-worn paths such as the Yellow Pages, ‘real’ mailshots to physical addresses or full-page spreads in Sunday Newspapers. Wow.

In those days pricing was clear (if expensive) and businesses were comfortable with literally throwing money into a black hole and hoping that the outcome magically produced new sales of some sort or another.

It’s true that it was simpler, but it certainly wasn’t better.  When the masses do things in a certain way and it’s accepted as the norm, everybody just seems to follow, whether it makes sense or not, and anyway, there was no real alternative.

Now, things are very different. However, the issue for most people is that they still seem to be following a marketing strategy aligned to the 1980s; let’s fund an array of campaigns using a dozen different mediums and we can’t go wrong. Can we?

Uhhh, yes, you can. Very wrong.

What’s your Marketing ROI?

In my view it’s a lot easier now than it was then to waste your entire marketing budget for little or no return, and this makes no sense.

The fundamental difference between what you could do then and what you can do now can be boiled down to just 4 words; Empirical Return on Investment.

Irrespective of the nature of your business you can see exactly how your marketing spend is having an effect on your pipeline and revenue growth and this, in turn, will help you make the right decisions about how to continue with your marketing investment (because that’s what it is; an investment).

But, it’s not your fault. I can clearly see how many business owners must lose the will to live trying to understand the sheer mass of marketing vehicles, platforms and pricing algorithms that come with today’s incredibly saturated and competitive marketing space. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface when compared to the number of marketing ‘specialists’ that have now formed businesses on the back of tailoring these services ‘just for you’.

The fact is, if you want Marketing to become the valuable and contributory function in your business that (quite frankly) it has to be, then you need to get a grip of it.

Marketing is one of those functions that is considered a ‘core competency’ within a business and as such it’s something that, ultimately, you should own and run in-house. Over time, just like your revenue numbers, you should know and understand how a change in the dynamic of your marketing investment affects what shows up on your bottom line, and more importantly, why.

Ok, that’s easily said, but how do you manage this?

Marketing is a competition

There are a few simple models that you can use and modify that not only help to illuminate what types of marketing suit your business but also how to know if they’re working for you. Once you’ve found a model that fits, the key then is to iterate both the spend and the techniques used so that they match variables such as seasonality and customer preference.

Instead of considering marketing as just an investment, also think of it as a competition; where each marketing method you use is competing against every other and the winner is the one that provides the best return on investment. And the prize? You invest more where the ROI is better, and less to the ruthless detriment of those routes that do worse.

Over time, you will naturally become better and better at understanding marketing impact. And that’s a good thing.

The term Sales & Marketing is a phrase that everyone knows. In my view though it should be the other way around; because, if your marketing isn’t right you won’t sell Jack!

So, stop wasting money outsourcing your marketing competency to someone else and start making every penny you invest in it work for you instead. It can be done.


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