Spend it Wisely – looking at your marketing budget

19th April 2018

I took this picture at an exhibition in London last month.  I shared it on LinkedIn later that day and couldn’t believe the reaction!  It’s one of my highest viewed posts.  But while we can all see the humour in this pic, my ‘marketing mind’ can’t get past the wasted budget!

Make the most of your investment

Indeed, exhibitions are often cited for having poor ROI on investment.  Now I am an advocate of exhibitions so in defence, I will state the most wasted element is the lack of follow-up on leads taken.  Research suggests around half of all companies never follow-up leads secured at an exhibition – talk about missing the point!  So here’s a tip, one I have shared many times before but still warrants a shout out – before you attend an exhibition make sure you book a space in the diary for a few days immediately after, to allow time for follow ups.

Customer research

Marketing should be viewed as an investment not an expense. However, the biggest mistake companies make is not analysing the investment they have made.

Businesses of all levels can quickly and easily analyse most of the marketing activity they have budgeted for.  One example is a business (which we won’t name) which had continued to spend money on two separate advertising bookings for several years, with no idea as to their impact.  So, what did we do – we simply asked each customer at the point of payment where they had heard of the business and then if they read/used the relevant publications.  The result – one publication was dropped with considerable savings, without a fall in revenue.

Approved spend

I always try to make sure that a marketing budget has an agreed spend of at least 70% before the year starts, leaving the remainder to be nimble and reactive to changes or offers that may arise throughout the period.  Always make sure you have time set aside to review your marketing results and spend, at least once a quarter, to get a picture on what is and isn’t working.


Digital marketing has also given us ready-made analytical tools such as Google Analytics, be sure to make good use of these.  Website analytics can provide valuable data on digital advertising, social media and email marketing campaigns for example, which can be used in conjunction with the data received from each platform and provider.

The old adage that ‘50% of my advertising works I just don’t know which half’ is long gone.  Items such as brochures and signage can’t be readily traced back to business wins but if you try to work on at least 50% analysis then you will quickly add to your bottom line and return on investment.

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