Five ways to waste your B2B marketing budget

Marketing can be expensive for a small business, so getting the best bang for your buck is essential. Here, James Cox reveals some typical ways of blowing the budget.

While the economy might be picking up and marketing budgets are increasing, companies still need to be careful about how they spend any precious extra cash and what you should expect as a return on investment. The biggest way of improving returns is to eliminate waste, ie stop doing those things that don’t work as well any more. Yet all too often I meet with small or mid-sized B2B organisations who just spend because they’ve always done things this way and see no real return from their efforts.

These are five most common ways to burn through budgets that I see:

1. Forget the planning

To really waste your marketing budget, don’t do any planning. Simply implement random ideas that crop up and seem to be creative but don’t have any link to your business goals.

A strategic marketing plan will help you clearly define what you do and how you are different. Why your customers should care (which of their hot buttons do you address)? And why they should believe you (as opposed to your competitors)? Every company needs this and without it you are just selling random stuff. This is the basis to focus your activities on achieving long-term strategic goals.

2. Try to reach everyone

Go for wall-to-wall advertising, like prime-time television slots (if you could afford it!)

For almost all B2B companies the target audience is specific. A broad-brush approach just doesn’t work. Instead consider every option, including both outbound and inbound marketing approaches. To find the right mix of approaches you need constant experimentation to get the most out of your budget.

3. Ignore marketing technology

Dismiss anything new and put off learning more about new technology. Don’t join forums or subscribe to feeds that are about the use of technology in marketing!

Technology can automate your daily processes, help deliver better quality campaigns and track results. All of these will not only reduce costs and save time, but can also deliver increased sales.

4. Keep pushing your message on your audience

Another great way to waste your marketing budget is to continue to push the same old message via every channel to everyone on to your database without any listening or interaction.

But sadly we see this again and again from companies large and small. It doesn’t seem to worry anyone that this annoys potential customers. Social media has given everyone and anyone a voice. Encourage interactivity in your blog and use analytics to track and comment on user behaviour. Then adjust your marketing to reflect this great feedback.

5. Don’t bother to invest in measurement

If you really want to blow the budget then simply forget about creating any way to measure the results.

You can be sure that you will never gain a real insight into what is working (or just as important what isn’t). And the results you measure shouldn’t be marketing metrics only – you need to join them up to sales conversion rates. In order to continuously improve your marketing you need to test, measure, review and test again. To do this you need to find out what worked and what didn’t and for why.

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