Five Proven Ways to Waste
Your Marketing Money
by Chad Rueffert

For some companies, marketing is a waste of money.  Not because it isn't necessary, but because they simply won't approach marketing in a manner that ensures success.  Nearly everyone has had an experience with a money-wasting marketing project -- a project that had good intentions but terrible execution.  To avoid the same mistakes, you need to know the five sure-fire ways to waste your marketing money.


Practice Start and Stop Marketing

It is a huge mistake to cut you advertising budget when times get slow, and nearly as big a mistake to only market when sales slow down.  Marketing is most effective when it is constant and consistent. The marketing process, in a simplified form, requires several consecutive stages.  Introduction, education, trust and timing.  To make a customer out of a prospect you must first introduce them to who you are.  Then, you must educate them on your products and pricing.  Third, you must convince them that you will fulfill your promises.  Plus, you must be right there in the top of their minds when the need for your product arises.  When you practice start and stop marketing, each time you "start", you must go through the entire process which is extremely expensive.  When your marketing is constant and consistent, you are always at the "timing" stage.  When your prospects run out of toner ink, or their insurance expires, or their wife gets pregnant, or any of a million other things, they already know who you are, what you sell and why they should buy it from you.


Copy Your Competition

When your competition has a sale do you respond by having a sale of your own?  When they advertise on television do you call the cable rep and start a schedule in response?  If so, you're wasting money on "me, too" marketing.  Your marketing should differentiate you from the competition.  You need to give customers a strong understanding of whey they should buy from you and not your competitor.  When McDonalds and Burger King were promoting their value menus, Carl's Jr. came out with the "Six Dollar Burger."  So now Burger King and McDonalds are splitting the customers who are motivated by price, and Carl's Jr. has lured away the burger buyers looking for substance and flavor.  If your major competitor's logo is blue and red, yours should be green and yellow.  If they dominate the television airwaves, you should consider advertising on radio.  If you copy their marketing approach you will always be one step behind.


Only Do Half the Job

There's no point creating a new product brochure if they gather dust on a shelf.  There's no value in creating a website if you don't drive traffic to it, never update it and it provides no added value to your customers.  There's no point spending money acquiring detailed customer data if you never apply it to your marketing strategy.  Too often, marketing tasks are approached on an individual basis when they should be handled as part of a comprehensive plan.  The best intentions will still waste your money if they are not coupled with competent execution.


Give Up If It Doesn't Produce Immediate Results

Go back and read point number one.  Marketing requires consistency and repetition.  Marketing requires consistency and repletion.  Marketing requires consistency and repetition.  If you place a coupon in the newspaper and no one brings it in the next day, don't give up.  Potential customers probably saw your ad -- they just haven't acted on it yet.  Give it a little time.  If it still doesn't work, consider changing advertising vehicles, changing your offer, or changing the look of your ad.  But don't give up!  If you give up, you have wasted every dollar you just spent.  Results come from persistent marketing.  Don't be surprised when a customer comes in and says they saw your ad in the newspaper when you switched to radio a month ago.  It may have been the radio spot that reminded them of the ad they saw.  Without the radio, the money spent on the ad was wasted.  Marketing requires consistency and repetition.


Do It All Yourself

Business owners are usually nothing like the people they sell to.  What does billionaire genius Bill Gates have in common with a twelve-year old using a computer to chat with her friends?  For that matter, what does he know about the emotional effect of color selection in logos or the demographics of Southern Colorado or gross rating points?  I can assure you, however, that he employs professionals who understand these things.  Professional marketing requires professional help as well as input from a variety of sources.  Talk to your customers and your competitors.  If you sell to kids, talk to kids.  If you're buying television ads, talk to a variety of sales representatives and then invite the radio guys in just for comparison.  And when you're in over your head, bring in professional help.  Graphic designers, copywriters, publicists, strategists and researchers will be more than worth the cost in the long run if chosen wisely and used effectively.