3 Critical Mistakes You Should Avoid to Improve ROI on Marketing


“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” John Wanamaker

Do you run your own business? Have you invested in marketing? Do you spend on digital advertising? Can you quantify what is the marketing budget allotted for your business? Ever wondered how you can improve the ROI on marketing your business without wasting money? There are multiple questions that arise in the mind when it comes to understanding ways of effectively incorporating marketing best practices in your organization. A critical component for the success of any organization in the current environment is effective targeting and the elimination of wasteful spending. 

Small businesses often develop their own marketing strategy without deep understanding of the best practices and the tools available for marketing. This has known to hamper the ROI on the marketing spend. Let’s give you some of our experiences having worked closely with SMEs in the last couple of years. Hope the suggestions given will help you improve your ROI on marketing.

A. Unplanned approach to achieve goals

      1. Inconsistent approach to market

Small businesses tend to approach the audience without creating a concrete marketing plan.

Do It The Right Way – Set a realistic ramp-up time or carefully advertise taking measured steps through a long-term plan. It is important to also create positioning and messaging by identifying the target audience. Also need to set up goals and milestones of a marketing plan.

      2. Incorrect selection of agency

Small businesses hire inappropriate and the cheapest marketing agencies for carrying out their marketing objectives. Sometimes these are just freelancers or family friends who have offered to help. The business targets are not defined, only the tactics are discussed.

Do It The Right Way – Analyze the business requirement and choose a partner  with a track record of delivering actual results in the long term rather than delivering creative campaigns to deliver vanity metrics or assets which are made without any connect to your vision for your company.

B. Lack of proper marketing strategies

    1. Channel mix not optimized

Small businesses tend to make a random selection of the channel mix according to trends.

Do It The Right Way – Build your assets, databases and communicate with a clearly targeted set of customers. Optimise your target segment and research their channels for consumption of information

    2. Spreading thin across multiple channels

Small businesses spread their budgets across multiple channels without prioritising channels.

Do It The Right Way – Target the right audience effectively and study how they consume information.  It is better to win one (or a few) market at a time to leverage expansion, geographically or demographically.

    3. Creating irrelevant content

Content is the King and small businesses fail to create interesting content to reach to or attract the appropriate set of audiences.

Do It The Right Way – Content marketing efforts should look to bring in revenue. It is essential to hire a content strategist who creates a messaging and establishes a content strategy as well. The right content will bring in customers, make sure your content is engaging your customer.

C. Make the right choice while spending

    1. Withdrawing the marketing spend too soon

Small businesses exhibit a lack of patience as well as belief and withdraw the amount invested to market their brand too early.  They also do not analyse the marketing results in order to incorporate in their subsequent strategies.

Do It The Right Way – Marketing needs to be planned like you plan a marathon race. Create a build-up plan to ensure a consistent approach and sustain the plan once success is achieved. Start by setting up conversion tracking for your ad campaigns.

     2. Relying too much on paid advertising

Without understanding the context, small businesses rely too much on paid advertising, thereby ending up exceeding their budget. Paid advertisements give immediate results but have limited time utility.

Do It The Right Way – It is important to create a mix. Paid advertisements require to be carefully monitored and should have clear objectives/goals. Organic advertisements are slow but are of great value in the long-term.

    3. Doing a one-time big budget campaign

Small businesses with limited marketing budgets should not dive into short bursts of high spend marketing campaigns. Marketing needs to boost your business, not your ego.

Do It The Right Way – Test on small amounts first before heading towards bigger campaigns. Marketing is to build your business not satisfy your ego. Targeted campaigns are always better than carpet bombing. Talk to your target audience only. Optimise, optimise, optimise.

Key Learnings

It is time to reassess your marketing plans and get on board a CMO on-demand to increase the valuation and improve the marketing performance of your organization. Hiring professional services would enable SMEs to not waste money in adopting inappropriate marketing strategies. To know more about the difference between spending and investing in marketing, refer to our blog on ‘Marketing – Spending vs Investing’.

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