Am I Wasting Money On My Marketing?
This is a common question I am asked by many clients. It is a common question asked within management teams. The challenge for me is that answering it is difficult in the absence of clear marketing strategy. The answer is often likely to be yes if there is no articulated marketing strategy because it means the business has decided to opt for ‘shiny new toy syndrome’. They have invested heavily in tactical marketing activities such as building websites, social media, PR, advertising, trade shows and so on without really being clear which need-based customer segments they are trying to serve and what exactly they need to offer them in order to better meet their needs versus available competitor offerings.
I am not sure whether this behaviour stems from the immediate pleasure one gains from taking action and seeing some results (good or bad) or whether it stems from a lack of understanding on what marketing strategy really is and what value it can bring to the party, when it comes to making tough choices around allocation of scarce resources towards attractive opportunities for growth or towards managing external issues that threaten the business.
So my first answer to this question typically is to ask a question. Is your marketing strategy strong and clearly articulated? Which is then usually followed by a discussion about what that actually means? Which customers or customer groups do you serve with which propositions? What do you offer them to better meet their needs at the right price? How do you prioritise the allocation of your limited resources of time and money towards the right opportunities or issues? What positioning are you aiming for in your customers minds? Is it differentiating, compelling and sustainable? What key messages are you trying to communicate through which channels and what tactics therefore make most sense?…and so on.
All these questions are very hard to answer without a clear marketing strategy that has been thought through and written down. So I urge all business leaders to think this through and make the big decisions before they throw money at a long list of tactical activities which are expensive both in terms of the actual cost of doing them and particularly in terms of the inefficiency of them if they don’t hit the mark.
Great marketing strategy is ultimately about driving shareholder value for the business Mud flinging at the market will not only raise your costs but will also limit the sales growth potential…a double whammy. If you are a customer who is already immersed in a sea of over communication it is highly unlikely you will respond to offers from companies providing you with irrelevant information. On the other hand when a customer with a specific need, emotional or rational, hears about a great solution (product or service) that would help them better meet their needs at the right price they are much more likely to buy.
So stop wasting your money and make some big decisions first. Then you can hand on heart feel confident you are doing the right things in the market with your precious time and money to ensure you drive double digit growth.