How to Spend Your Marketing Money Wisely

by francine Hardaway on June 9, 2011

I’ve been working on a project that has allowed me to compare small business marketing with enterprise marketing. It’s ridiculous how much big companies spend on wasted marketing: white papers nobody reads, sponsorships that don’t give value, campaigns that don’t work. Startups and small businesses can’t afford to do that, so here are some tips to save you marketing money:

1. If you are no longer printing brochures, at least make your site navigable. No one needs a print brochure anymore. I said that ten years ago, and  print collateral is starting to go away, but it’s not vanishing as quickly as it should be. I’m no statistician, but I’d wager that as much as 90% of print material is wasted, going either in a drawer or straight into the trash unread. Instead of print, convert everything to .pdf and make it downloadable from  your site. Small businesses should NEVER print.

On the other hand,  if you do make all your collateral downloadable, give some thought to what the customer or prospect might be looking for when she comes to your site. If you have been in business for a while, you probably have a site with many pages. How do I find what I need quickly?  Site architecture, navigation and site search are more important than you think. No site should be without custom search, and the keywords for every product feature and benefit should be easily searched. The links to the collateral should be off the landing page.

Yesterday I was looking for a product brochure on SAP’s site, and I couldn’t find it, even though I knew they had it. That’s because the overview of a suite of products did not link in any way to the brochures for the individual products and the search didn’t return any relevant results. I went away dissatisfied, and now I am telling YOU about it.

2. Don’t exhibit at a trade show, but make sure you attend those in your industry. Trade shows are artifacts, and the good ones (Comdex) have had the good sense to disappear. They used to be a way to make sales and show merchandise, but there are much cheaper ways to do that. The only good reasons to go to a trade show are to see what the competition is doing, and to make contacts. So it makes no sense to be stuck at a booth. You are much better off being free to walk the floor, to make friends, or to speak at an educational session. You want to be known as a thought leader in your industry, so you don’t want to be the grunt giving the product demo in the booth.  The exception to this is startup Demo Days, where every startup is giving a demo.

3.Don’t sponsor if you aren’t going to engage. Every event has a long list of sponsors to thank, half of whom are  usually not even in the room. They excuse this by saying they’ve still gotten the “branding” value out of the sponsorship. Not true. If you aren’t going to work the room at an event, explaining what you do and why it’s valuable in person, you probably shouldn’t be a sponsor. You want to be there to be thanked in person, to give people a face for a brand.  For best results from sponsorships, sponsor only those events where your potential customer will be, and make sure you talk to that customer. Sponsorships don’t work by themselves, even in NASCAR. In fact, many former NASCAR sponsors have learned that lesson the hard way.

Instead of writing a marketing plan that includes as much as possible, next time write one that includes as little as possible, and think about going deep instead of going wide. From a sales support perspective, it will probably be more effective.



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How to Spend Your Marketing Money Wisely | BECOME A SUCCESSFUL WRITER
June 9, 2011 at 8:02 am

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