A few months ago a friend gave me an expensive pair of running tennis shoes. He had only worn them a couple of times, but he didn’t like them so he gave them to me. Compared to my current shoes they were great, but they still didn’t seem to fit quite right. However, it seemed like a waste of money to go and buy new shoes when these shoes obviously still had lots of miles to go. So I laced them up and started running. After a few runs my knees were hurting and my feet had a few blisters, but I didn’t change the shoes, instead I just assumed that I was still breaking them in. After 3 months of running in the shoes I finally decided it was time to get a new pair as my knees weren’t getting any better and these shoes just never felt quite right.
Three runs into my new pair of Asics Get Nimbus’ and I couldn’t kick myself any harder. What was I thinking? These new shoes were amazing!! My knees no longer hurt. My feet felt great. I was able to run faster and further than I had in 3 years. But this post isn’t about shoes, it’s about marketing and how bad marketing is like a bad pair of running shoes. While I thought I was doing myself a favor and saving money, in reality I was hurting something that is worth way more than a few hundred bucks. That’s what happens when you scrimp in business. You try to take a few bucks and throw it at a marketing campaign and if it is done poorly you are actually hurting your brand. One or two times you might get away with it, but over time people start to relate the quality of your product with the quality of your marketing.
So what do you do if you have a limited marketing budget? Be creative. Instead of going the traditional route maybe come up with something clever and cheap - the first viral videos are a good example of this, but there are many ways to spread the word about your product besides spending a lot of money.
Also, before you start sending a number of people to your site or to get your product, make sure that it is as polished as you can make it. I don’t know how many people have told me to “Like” their Facebook page, but when I got there I was like, “What’s the point?” There wasn’t any content. Is Social Network Marketing really just about who has the most “likes”? No. The point of social marketing is getting people to talk about your product(s) to their friends and to get a community of people behind your product. Also, it is important to know whether your brand, service or product is even a good fit for social networking. If your service is calibrating Siemens or Bruker engineering tools then most likely people aren’t going to be talking about that on their Facebook wall. So don’t spend your money or time where there is no chance that you will see any real pay off.
At the end of the day the entire point of marketing is all about making money. Don’t cripple your business by slapping on a cheap pair of shoes, or a shoe that doesn’t even fit and do more damage than good to your business. It just won’t add up.