Returns on investment (ROI) is one of the biggest buzzwords and most important phrases in the marketing industry today. Marketing executives often find it necessary to justify the budgets for their marketing campaigns to their managers, who demand that the bottom line be a justifiable result of the marketing expense. This is even more important at smaller companies, where efficient spending has emerged as one of the most effective marketing strategies for small business. While positive net expenditures that lead to productive results are ultimately desired, avoiding spending on things that lead to negative or unfruitful results might be just as important. Here are some of the most common ways that small businesses waste marketing dollars and how to avoid them.
Brand awareness campaigns
Branding and raising brand awareness and equity are phrases usually thrown around by executives who look at big picture items to determine the course set for their company. Creating a strong brand is always a desired outcome and can usually lead to significantly increased revenues. However, according to Inc. Magazine, products and services create the brand for what it’s worth – not marketing activity. The news source writes that the various channels companies pour significant sums into in a bid to strengthen a brand – brochures, television spots, websites, advertisements – usually end up as “brand spam” or noise. Typical consumers often can’t discern between the various messages and can end up ignoring them altogether. Instead, treat marketing activity as tactical rather than strategic by setting goals and metrics for every marketing activity.
Twitter and Facebook overexposure
Facebook and Twitter are two of the hottest social networks amid an increasingly crowded social media landscape. When used correctly, these two mediums offer companies tremendous opportunities to engage with their customers and relay their desired messages. However, Marketing for Manufacturing notes that tweeting or promoting ads on either of these networks over and over again is a surefire way to ruin your reputation. Making matters worse, many companies often hire social media specialists to perform a job that can be done by the small business owner to greater effect. Use social media carefully, thoughtfully and in moderation for a more productive endeavor.
Ineffective market research
Consumer research and data-mining is another area of the marketing industry that has seen an increased effort in recent years. Derived from a need to present robust ROI figures to their supervisors, marketing executives believe that market research can provide targeted, unbiased data that leads to more focused campaigns. However, according to Inc. Magazine, market research is usually qualitative, statistically invalid, skewed to a foregone conclusion and paints an incomplete picture, indirectly leading to inefficient campaigns. Instead, the news source recommends spending money on acquiring publicly available data that has been gathered without a specific agenda.