Is it Time to Scale Back on Marketing? Part Three (Finally)

red and white piggy bank on wood grain table

Is it Time to Scale Back on Marketing? Part Three (Finally)

April 06, 2023
  • Innovation
  • Marketing
  • Strategy

Well, here we are again, and it’s time to wrap up this little odyssey with Part 3. We started by talking about how you can spend less money, then save money, and now we get to talk about how you can INVEST money in your Marketing, even when it seems like it would be better to hide under a rock.

(Sure, it might feel like a stretch to say these are all different things, but if you don’t believe me check out Part 1 and Part 2 before you read on.)

Let me drop a crucial agreement right here on the table between us before we get started: We’ve got to agree to see Marketing as an investment and not just an expense, ok?

It may be a wild oversimplification, but it’s at least fair to say that we BUY things that benefit us in the short term, like a delicious boba tea, for example, and we INVEST in things that will benefit us in the long term, like our 401k plan. So, if you spent $8.95 on a cool drink, you could expect it to be refreshing and delicious today, but not 20 years from now. And if you started investing in your 401k today, you’d expect it to be valuable when you retire, but not today.

I’m willing to admit I might have tortured that metaphor, but I hope you get the point. Marketing is an investment, not boba tea.

So, the idea here is to invest your Marketing dollar on things that will give you long-term results, even when you don’t see an immediate and radical impact.

Things like:

Here we’re talking both about the money it costs to get data that points you to the right people and the sweat equity it takes to create a message that resonates with them.

Invest in one and not the other, and your results will suffer.

Whether you’re just starting with DIY targeting from your customer list, leveraging the data on social media, or investing in having a partner crunch those numbers for you, the first step is to understand as much as you can about the people you’re talking to.

Not just why they’d want to buy, but why THEY would want to buy from YOU.

Next, the message you send them needs to reflect that, which is where many entrepreneurs struggle (and why you should think of this as an investment). Resist the urge to use the same tired tropes, stock photos, or bullet-pointed lists everyone else uses and offer a thoughtful message catered to the people you want to help.

If you’ve ever spent more than a minute looking at brandable swag, you know that there are a METRIC TON of options. Frankly, it might be too many options because you can put your logo on almost anything, which is not always a great idea.
Of course, here we’re venturing back into knowing who you’re trying to talk to and why, right?

Invest the time and energy into seriously considering not just what fancy gadget you want to pass out at the next expo but the life cycle of that thing. Will it go home with your prospective customers and occupy a place of honor on their desk (or dresser, or wherever their most useful things go), or is it going in a junk drawer?

You know what goes into the junk drawer never REALLY comes back out, right?

And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a sweeping indictment of single-use swag. In fact, one of the BEST experiences I’ve had with ordering branded swag (a great swagsperience, if you will) was with disposable glasses for a solar eclipse. EVERYBODY wanted one, we got loads and loads of great images of people wearing them, and we got nice comments about them for WEEKS. Seriously. And why was that a great experience? Because we found something people wanted, and it made a difference in their lives for not much money.


Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you have to spend THE MOST on the shindigs you throw, just don’t cut corners when it counts. Whether it’s a brat fry (a Wisconsin staple) or an eight-course dinner, people will see the care you and your team put into it and feel cared about.

Where can you go wrong? A lot of places, so here’s a short list to get you started:

Think about directional signage, emergency supplies in case of inclement weather, and where you place each element of the event for optimal effect.

  • Give event attendees exceptional service. Sometimes the completely different vibe of a business event makes us act in ways that don’t meet everyday standards. Maybe you have some team members off in the corner relaxing when they should be chatting up your guests. Maybe the catering team is stressed out and snippy when they get a question. Maybe all of that at once.

Don’t let the novelty of an event day make everyone forget that your guest’s experience is paramount, just like it is every day.

This might mean additional investment of time and resources to make sure your event is well-staffed, the staff understands your service expectations, and you’re investing time throughout the event to keep it all in check.

  • Spend money on things that will maximize how memorable your event is. Here are some easy examples to think about for your next event:

Hire a professional speaker (instead of asking your cousin’s roommate to talk about how he met Taylor Swift that one time.)

Think about menu options that are unique, allergy- and vegan-friendly so your guests remember your thoughtfulness instead of how the Convention Hall Chicken aggravated their tennis elbow.

Consider offering a signature cocktail or mocktail and brand it with a fun name that people will remember fondly. It could be as simple as buying some edible glitter.

Make your plan, and then brainstorm one or two more things you could reasonably add to make it that much more special. A game, an activity, maybe a special giveaway or surprise. Whatever you think will take your event from “Good Enough” to Truly Memorable.

And that’s a wrap, folks. One, Two, Three blog pages filled with the best advice I can give you to show how you can Spend, Save, and Invest in your Marketing, no matter how hairy the economy looks, and still keep moving forward.

If you use any of these ideas or want more thoughts on how you can make the most of your budget, we’re here to help. Connect with us here or online with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Sue's Headshot

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.