Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that counts

6th February 2020

If there is one marketing lesson they don’t teach you it is that sometimes it’s what you don’t do that counts.

If you manage a marketing budget and ultimately a strategy, how often do you actually say no, thank you, we can use that money to better affect?

As marketing professionals, we are bombarded every day with new ideas, trends, fads, deals and offers.

Budgets are fluid, without doubt. The old adage about booking or planning 80% and using the final 20% through the year is still often adhered to in many organisations, but to what cost?

I (maybe unusually for a marketer, according to my accountant friends!) never wished to overspend or waste precious resource, and as such I felt it a responsibility to say no, more times than yes.

Ask Why


I always have a policy of asking why to any requests for new marketing collateral. If the sales team want a new brochure, I believe you should ask why. It maybe there is a great need, if so, ask if it can be a download rather than printed? Or perhaps, only a short run is required – made easier by the developments in quality digital printing.


The same applies to exhibitions. Decline to exhibit and we perceive that everyone will wonder why we are not there? But this isn’t reason enough to attend – this isn’t about peer pressure. It’s business. Justify your decision with facts and figures, not opinion. Perhaps, you didn’t get any significant leads last time and would rather not commit to the expenditure. Whatever, your thoughts regarding exhibitions, always ask why.

Advertising and Awards

I would always question those last-minute advertising deals? Let’s face it they’re not that great. If the magazine was that good, why isn’t it full already? And don’t get me started on support advertising. Do the people even realise they are being ‘used’ as bait for their supply chain? I’m yet to fathom the ROI of this form of advertising.

Or, how about awards ceremonies. I will declare that these are not my favourite use of budget; they are essentially a very expensive evening out. Yes, of course, there is networking and customer entertainment but work out the cost after accommodation, bar bills, days off the road and the organisation and preparation? It’s far beyond the cost of the table – often an inflated price for the mediocre food, wine and compère!

The list could go on and on…

But next time you are faced with a budget decision, ask yourself why and what’s the benefit and value to the business. Or better still – have a planned budget and monitor your ROIs.

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