Is it Time to Scale Back on Marketing?

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Is it Time to Scale Back on Marketing?

December 16, 2022
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Strategy

Wait… wait… let me catch my breath (hands on knees, deep breath in, hold it, now slowly exhale) ok… now wha-wha-wha-WHAAAAAAT?

Obviously, that was all for dramatic effect because, you know, I wrote that title myself, but when I see this question bubbling to the surface, my reaction is absolutely that dramatic.

If you’re a marketer with any time under your belt (literally almost any amount of time), you’ve been asked this question often enough that it might be eliciting a fight-or-flight response.

But stick around, ok?

If you’re a non-marketer, we’d like to chat, especially if you’re in the C-Suite.

Normally my stock answer to any overly broad marketing question is “It depends” because it does, and what it depends on is as varied as the subject matter.

Do we have to use video? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Do we have to join TikTok? It depends on your audience (and if you have any interest in Sea Shanties.)

Can we do this instead of that? You guessed it. It depends.

But let me break that personal tradition and give you a definitive answer this time.

No. No no no no no NO! (Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.)

Now, if we didn’t lose our friends from the C-Suite yet, let me (respectfully) beat you to the chase and say that, yes, I know there’s a chance that budgets are going to shrink as we face some challenging financial times. And all my Marketing friends know that when you’re working in a space that basically defies you to suss out an ROI, your budget might be first on the chopping block.

We get it.

The beauty is that you can spend less money and still not “Scale Back”. You could even scale.. forward? Is that a thing? Scale up? That sounds right.

How does that work? Look at where you can spend less money, save money, and invest smart money without forcing yourself to DO LESS.

This is a big topic, and you should take time to digest it, so I’ll break it down into three parts which means you have to stop back for parts 2 and 3.

We’ll start with:

Spend Less Money:

1. On Wasted Impressions

How can an impression be wasted, you might ask? Oh friend, let me count the ways.

First, by putting in effort (or paying) to get impressions where your target audience doesn’t exist. Oh, really “First” should be by not having a target audience, then second is not knowing where they’re looking, then THIRD I guess, is not being where they are.

Probably fourth would be being in the right place, but with nothing to offer, of course, you should have thought of what you were going to say and why before you even started, so maybe THAT’S number one.

I think you get the point, right? No matter what fancy-shmancy tools we get to play with, knowing our Product, Price, Place, and Promotion is the way to make impressions count.

Yes, it’s old school, but it still works.

2. On Pointless Swag

I’ll admit that I’m not sure how universal this problem is, but I’ll bet my collection of branded giant pens with bobbleheads on top that someone out there knows what I’m talking about. And if you look in their storage closet, there are at least 4 cases of something they or someone else on their team thought was the most awesome thing, but they’ve never managed to give away.

Even setting aside the impractical junk for a minute, a good place to start saving money is to consider your branded swag as a part of your broader marketing strategy. WHY are you buying it? What will it do for your business?

Sure, we all know that it’s a pretty long and twisted line from giving someone a pen with your logo on it (even, like, a REALLY GOOD pen) to them buying whatever it is you’re selling, but that path exists.

Look for useful AND reusable swag, brand it well with a nice clear and easy-to-read logo, and then take it places where it will go to people who will actually buy what you’re selling.

The bottom line is that if you’re giving it away, consider the strategy behind it. If there’s no strategy, don’t spend the money.

3. On What Other People Want

Don’t get me wrong. Being open to feedback is incredibly valuable, especially when it helps you look at your marketing challenges from another point of view. If you’re getting that kind of feedback, cherish it.

The trap to avoid is investing good money (time, or energy) into something purely because your competition did it.

Or, in this specific example: because someone at your organization saw your competition doing it.

Accept the feedback? Yes.

Consider how it fits into your strategy/budget/capacity? Of course.

Do it just so they’ll stop talking about it even though you don’t think it’s right?

Naw, save your money.

If you do your research and can honestly say that the opportunity doesn’t seem right for your strategy, and you’re not just rejecting it because it wasn’t your idea, then you can be confident that it’s the right call… at least for now.

But listen, these are just the first three examples that came to mind from my personal experience. There are probably a TON of ways you could NOT SPEND money and still make an impact with your Marketing in 2023.

Maybe the best advice is to look for the things that aren’t getting you results and if you can’t fix it, save your money.  

Plus, we still have to talk about how you can SAVE MONEY and how you should INVEST IT.

If you're just joining us, Part Two of this series is right here. 

(Oh, and we did a podcast about this subject recently, so check that out.)


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About the Author: Suzanne Campbell is the Brand & Content Manager on the Exclamation Services Marketing team and the self-proclaimed evangelist for Brand Voice. She’s picked up a lot of smart ideas from a lot of amazing people in her more than 20 years of experience and you can frequently hear them on the Awsomology podcast.