Cut down on your waste - part 2

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By: Neil Edwards on 13th April 2014, 5 minute read

The second instalment in our series on avoiding marketing waste focuses on marketing without a plan.  Here are some great ways to spend money without getting a return.

Unsupported direct mail

Sales are down, quick - send out a mailing and everything will be alright. Er, no.

Direct mail certainly has a place in a B2B marketing programme.  The reduced volumes of direct mail that business decision makers receive nowadays, compared with the constant assault of email on their in-boxes, means that the opportunities for cut-through are high.

Success won't, however, come overnight.  The chances of your mail-piece landing when the recipient has a need are low, so you need to think of it as part of a nurturing process.

Here is a better strategy:

  1. Plan to send a series of mailings - say four in a year
  2. Combine the mailing with email marketing.  Think of it as a complement, not an alternative
  3. Include a clear reason and means to respond
  4. Set up a dedicated landing page on your website so you can see what volume of traffic is motivated to visit by your campaign.  If you've got visitor identification software, you will be able to see which companies are responding and fine-tune your follow up.

The standalone advert

The phone call comes in from the advertising sales person.  Guess what?  He's got some last minute space available and because he's so keen to get you on board as an advertiser, he's spoken to his boss and been given permission to offer it to you for a song.

Well, don't sing.   Advertising is a long term strategy and requires commitment to a campaign - probably for at least a year in trade publications.  The one-off ad will serve only to feed your ego and help the sales person hit his targets.

Here's a better way to spend the money:

  1. Put it into a pay-per-click campaign, which will give you several weeks or months of measurable exposure in front of people that are looking for the service that you offer
  2. Use the time to decide if advertising has a place in your strategy - it may well do - and plan the publications you should appear in
  3. Negotiate terms based on your commitment to a campaign

The trade show without a pre and post-event plan

Trade shows are expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the stand space and the stand you build on it, but there are marketing materials, give-a-ways and the cost of your team's time in manning the stand for the event.

So why do so many businesses think of the event as the be-all and end-all of their activity?

Here's how to turn some of that hard-earned money into new customers:

Before the event

  1. Do lots of pre-event marketing on social media.  Create unique posts about your presence and leverage the activity of the organisers by re-posting their updates and using event hashtags
  2. Create content related to the event for your blog and distribute it in email marketing and articles that you can offer to trade publications
  3. Get delegate tickets, they are often free to exhibitors, and offer them to specific prospects

After the event

  1. Add all new contacts into your CRM system and make sure the hottest prospects are followed-up immediately
  2. Post any exhibition materials - e.g. presentations and publications - to sites such as Slideshare and Issu where they can be easily found and shared


Sponsorship opportunities will be presented to you in many different guises, from helping a local youngster fulfill his or her potential to putting your name to an award or sporting event.

The first thing to be clear on is whether you are going to treat the opportunity as a sponsorship or a charitable donation. If it's the latter and you can support it, fantastic: different rules apply.  If it's a sponsorship, then it's your responsibility to make sure your business gets the maximum benefit from it.

This is how:

  1. Make sure the opportunity fits with your brand and complements your brand strategy.  Is it a logical sponsorship?
  2. Negotiate hard on the benefits and the cost.  This is a commercial arrangement and the owner of the sponsorship property needs to convince you it's worth it
  3. Build a marketing plan around your sponsorship, promoting it on social media, in your email campaigns, on your website and in any advertising you do
  4. Look for and exploit any contact opportunities it gives you with prospects or valued customers e.g. hospitality

Are you a marketer or business owner that has seen opportunities to waste money on marketing?  If you have, tell us about them.  We'll be writing part three of this series soon.

Missed part one?  You can find it here.

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Neil Edwards


Neil Edwards

Neil is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with many years' experience in marketing, brand and communications.

CEO / The Marketing Eye

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