Examples of Wasting Marketing Spend

You've launched your business model and you begin to invest capital into promotional initiatives. Are you confident in where you're spending or do you think you might be wasting marketing spend on ineffective endeavors? In this article, I expand on how you could be participating in wasteful approaches and how you can focus on execution moving forward.
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1. Paying Someone to Duplicate Online Content

I expanded on this relevant epidemic in my last blogpost on originality – and cannot reiterate the devastating effect enough. If you have an internal or outsourced team curating content based on the effectiveness of others copy or imagery – you’re working backwards. Not only will originality enhance the user experience and consumer trust, but you’ll enhance search rankings and avoid penalties by investing in your own strategy. Even if an internal team is managing this to save you from expert fees, you still have to consider the time they’re wasting here. Take the time to monetize the workflow of your current employees while auditing content and imagery produced by outside teams. I know it seems like a complete waste, but you’ll set yourself up for sustainability down the road.

2. Print Advertising and Publication Investments.

Far too often, I come across a struggling company that’s spending thousands of dollars on a brand awareness strategy in print media. Although it may be effective in super relevant publications, it’s only a numbers game. Moreover, how can you determine if your ad is even seen by the “X amount of subscribers”? This is the main selling point of publications and I’ve never been able to understand how they monetize this. You may get some calls, but I truly believe your money is better spent on targeted initiatives.

I worked for a company that would invest $2-4,000 in these types of ads yet limit online display ads to $100/month. Even though I was able to prove it would save the business $5000 annually. Although they saw a consistent level of new acquisition, I cannot imagine the impact that a targeted campaign would have had. All they needed to do was explore outside the element of traditional advertising. There are plenty of ways to acquire new customers and immersing yourself in a little research can go a long way. Without an ability to compare campaigns or understand where your niche is, you’re limiting potential while wasting marketing spend.

3. Social Media Marketing Lacking Purpose.

Social media is an ever-evolving marketplace. Each passing year sees a number of implemented algorithms and limitations that attempt to strengthen the impact of marketing on these platforms. A common theme that really bothers me surrounds a corporate strategy mirroring personal social media accounts. Some brands want to share random memes, articles, or photos they personally find engaging – but that doesn’t mean potential customers will. Sure, it’s great to garner likes and shares, but if these actions are being completed by people who aren’t interested in your offering – it’s lacking purpose. Additionally, if you’re paying someone to promote quantity, then you’re inevitably avoiding social media quality. Even if you downsize to 1-2 posts a week, a purposeful campaign will give you heightened results and trusted engagement. Don’t be afraid spend some time developing intriguing topics that flow into your objectives. This will enhance your influence while strengthening your value.

4. Most of Your Budget is Spent on SEO.

Don’t get me wrong, optimizing your site is very important – but avoiding quality content and presentation is a great way to detour visitors once they arrive. Although website SEO is a step in the right direction, there are a plethora of steps when it comes to acquiring new customers on-site. Simply improving your traffic flow is not enough. From experience, some companies spend $200-$500 a month on SEO maintenance. What does that even mean? If you’re lacking the results you desire, then the last thing you need to continue to do is pay your SEO guy. You should first consider improving your on-sire content so that it’s more appealing and makes sense. If you’re promoting an overwhelming amount of copy, try simplifying your message or implementing imagery and graphics to get your message across. Driving more traffic by ranking better isn’t going to solve your problems. Improve the way you’re perceived by enhancing the user experience so that you resonate better. From here, everything else will take care of itself.

5. Investing More in Design Over Substance.

Similar to my previous point, wasting marketing spend on designs can be just as costly. (Feel free to research this epidemic as the same goes for your web design.) If you realize that you’re spending an extensive amount of money on high tech designs, consider looking into the substance within them. When designs overwhelm your text, then it’s time to simply them so you can get your message across. I cannot stress this enough as a seamless pitch trumps any design.

I know that I preach presentation like it’s my job, but I also understand the importance of clarity. A perfect example is when start ups invest a large amount of money in brochures, folders, pens, etc.. counting on their sales force to drive home value. Look, I get it.. But, start slow and scale before throwing away money – even if this is a commonality. One of the most important steps in branding is developing your voice, value, and vision. If you’re designs aren’t relaying these three things, then pump the brakes and stop wasting marketing spend on a designer.

6. Demographic Targeting.

Investing in advertising strategies that target demographics is a great way to limit your potential and waste marketing spend. Not only are you assuming who your customer is, but you’re ignoring other verticals you can execute. Assumption marketing is a great way to put yourself in a hole before gaining traction. If your main customer is middle aged men with kids, then focus on satisfying that vertical through service. If you’re able to execute a solid user experience, then these men will begin to share their stories themselves. Wasting marketing spend by looking to acquire more of the same can limit your satisfaction scores. Not only that, but you’re ignoring other people that could benefit from your offering just as well. It’s always good to understand your audience, but you should look to invest in an improved approach instead of wasting money doing the same thing over and over.

Looking to be More Effective with Your Marketing Spend?

There are plenty of marketing strategies available to business owners. At PreFocus, we zero in on your provided value with substance and a clear message. Find out how we can help you improve customer loyalty, trust, and clarity through quality content development and consultation.