Stop Gambling on Vanity Marketing

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Photo by Kay on Unsplash

There is no such thing as expensive or cheap marketing — there is only marketing that works and marketing that doesn’t work. Remember this next time your local newspaper or trade magazine calls you up and offers you a “cheap” last-minute ad. If that ad doesn’t yield an ROI, buying it may be the most expensive decision you make this week.

This is why I never refer to email marketing as a cheap marketing solution. While it’s certainly lower in cost than many other forms of marketing, I prefer to think of it as simply more cost-efficient than most other mediums. Actually, it’s better than that: Email marketing remains the most cost-efficient marketing medium (both online and in the “real world”) for any business or organization.

No Excuses for Inefficient Marketing Spend

The fact is, in this day and age, there is no excuse for spending money on marketing that doesn’t work.

I recently spent some time with the marketing manager of a large college. He had an extensive marketing budget and spent freely on newspaper, radio, billboard and events marketing. While he was telling me this, he chuckled and told me that while he spent tens of thousands of dollars every month on traditional advertising, he actually drove more positive engagement (prospectus downloads, applications, emails, phone calls, etc.) from a couple of hundred dollars “thrown at” Facebook.

He literally had no idea how effective or ineffective his offline advertising was but felt compelled to do it because the various heads of department at the college enjoyed the “visibility” it gave the institution. Essentially, the college was spending huge amounts of money on what was probably a complete exercise in vanity.

While I agreed with him that it would be “politically” difficult (in the short term) to stop spending on traditional ads, I asked him if anyone would notice if he cut the traditional budget by 25% and redirected those funds toward social media and email marketing.

Note: Sadly, too many marketers are forced to play office politics because other departments insist — without having any real insight — that they know what works and what doesn’t.

Stop Everything

If you are currently spending money on marketing, and you have no idea whether it works or not, I suggest you do one thing: Stop and see what happens. And while you are waiting to see what happens, you should focus your efforts on marketing that can be analyzed, optimized and justified in real time to maximize your returns.

Note: The success or failure of traditional (offline) advertising can be analyzed by simple measures such as using unique telephone numbers, website addresses or voucher codes as your various campaigns’ calls to action (CTAs).

Are you spending your marketing budget wisely — or are you gambling on campaigns and never really knowing which ones are winners and which are losers? Isn’t it time you become more efficient?

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This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Written by

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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