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  • Writer's picturePete Steege

Empty Calorie Marketing

Avoid Empty-Calorie Marketing

So your marketing program, it's a finite budget. It's probably not a lot of money. And you have at your disposal almost limitless choices for what you do with that precious time and money to promote your company. So, one of the most important keys to success is to choose the right things to do with your time and your money and your marketing. And unfortunately, there are some tantalizing, fun, interesting visible things you can do with your marketing that in actuality don't really move the needle and are a waste of your time. And more importantly, they are opportunity costs that take away from what you could be doing to promote your business. I call these empty calorie marketing tactics. And I want to share with you. I wanna tell you about some of these so you can see 'em. So you can I see 'em coming and hopefully just say no, have a little bit of a healthy eating marketing diet and it'll improve your business outcome.

Checklist Marketing

So first, checklist marketing. That is the dynamic, the temptation to do everything you see other people doing with marketing. So, you're looking at best practices, you're looking at competitors, that might have a bigger budget, and all the things they're doing. You are going down the list of chotchkes and t-shirts and hats. Why not? We need to have those two. All of those, those items that are action without a purpose are usually a waste of your time and money, partly because some of them actually don't have much value. You should ask yourself the hard question, for example, is it realistic for you to see your customers, your prospects, or anybody else wearing a t-shirt with your logo across the front of it? There are exceptions, but a lot of B2B companies are fooling themselves if they think that's a, that's a valuable way to market their business.

One example, the key here is to don't start with the list of things you could do. Start with the what you need to get done and then let that drive you to the right tactics to deliver that result.

Vanity Projects

Another common empty calorie source is vanity projects. So these are the ones that make people feel good or feel important, or like celebrities, the big event or, an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal or the local paper, an article in the local paper. All of things, these things have a place in some marketing programs.

The point is why you're doing it. So what you wanna do is just like the checklist, marketing problem, you want to deal with this by focusing first on what you're trying to accomplish. And if there is a strategic large investment opportunity that's part of that, great, but don't do it because it's fun or easy or exciting.

'Free' Tools

And then finally, free tools. So these are all of the websites and apps that you can sign up for free trials or free versions that look really interesting and are easy to use. They're so easy to use, right? And it's, it's another thing for you to do. That's the problem with it. It's not free, because while you're not paying any money for it, you are paying with mindshare of your team and hours that you could, they could be using on other projects and the, the possibility of confusing and distracting people. So you want to make sure you're thinking of the real cost of every tool that you bring in, and it's much more than what you pay in dollars for it.

This gets back to a really important point about marketing that the companies that do fewer things but do them completely, like do them well and follow them through to completion are way ahead of the companies that do a lot of things that are really just spinning plates and never reach the point of, for most of them, of them resulting in the benefits that they need.

So, I think the key here is start first with what you're trying to do. What is the job that marketing is doing for your business? And then hire the tools and the tactics that help you get that job done. And don't waste your time and energy on everything else.

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