A prospective client recently reached out to me, having found me by searching for fractional chief marketing officers on the Internet. This C-suite executive, who shall remain nameless, dispensed with formalities and said, “I am interviewing 15 marketing firms, and I’d like a list of things that we could do for $20,000.”
After I took a beat to absorb his “unique” approach, I responded as any ethical Chief Marketing Officer should – calmly explaining that there are many, many steps required before we could even begin to develop a budget to spend those $20,000 hard-earned marketing dollars – things like identifying goals, objectives, priorities and the like.
After this individual moved on to the next marketer on his call list, I pondered his approach to marketing – and also realized that invariably some marketer would take the bait and start flinging those marketing dollars wildly. That’s “marketing malpractice,” I thought.
It is true that, as bottom-line-watching chief executives, we are wired to seek out the most value for the least cost. However, with marketing, it’s critical to find a results-oriented service provider who will help you to spend wisely as a means of maximizing the return on that marketing investment.
I thought a good starting point for this discussion would be to understand some ways in which “marketing malpractice” is committed, so you can avoid those pitfalls and make savvier marketing decisions.
As I hinted earlier, the marketing dollar allocation is only one, disconnected part of a much larger picture. Sure, you want to be mindful about what you can afford, but the focus should always be on what you need to acquire that profitable customer. A solid marketing strategy should be asking the key questions:
One last bit of advice -- don’t try this at home. To ensure your strategy is sound and that you are maximizing your marketing investment – not committing “marketing malpractice,” – find a partner who can help you develop strategy and plans, which lead to actions, which lead to results. A fractional CMO or the right marketing consultant will take that broader snapshot of your playing field and will develop reasoned steps to help you reach your goals.
What are some ways you’ve seen companies commit “marketing malpractice?”