Business owners of SMBs unintentionally hurt their business with a random approach to marketing. Strategy is substituted with activity. The marketing plan is a series of disjointed marketing tactics. Simply, they are dabbling.

The cost of dabbling is high. So are the risks.

marketing dollars wasted on random marketing

Two examples from this week to stop blowing money:

  1. A fairly new client: Sales person wants to send out a mailer. The mailer would have cost ~ two thousand dollars. Not an insignificant investment for a small growing business. We are her new outsourced marketing department so she asks me to review the mailer quote. Timing was perfect as I was reviewing the marketing plan for November and December with the CEO. The mailer is not part of the plan. Why did I exclude it? Because it was a classic example of random marketing; aka dabbling.  The mailer was not a good idea. The target audience was a poor choice and the likelihood of a positive ROI was slim. This marketing money could and will be better utilized for higher impact marketing efforts. Two thousand dollars saved that would have been wasted with random marketing. Happy client. Dabbling averted.
  2. Another new client: Our integrated team has replaced various individuals implementing marketing tactics with little to no integration (e.g., social media, email marketing). In reviewing past activities, we uncovered a ‘nice to have’ marketing effort that is not delivering results. With a shift to social media, we design a solution to drive results, reduce overlap and improve marketing effectiveness. A more subtle example of dabbling due to disparate efforts.

Dabbling in the B to B space commonly has the following marketing elements:

  • A logo has been designed
  • There is a website
  • Social media exists (may or may not be set up correctly or executed well)
  • Mission statement printed on a company wall
  • A Blog exists; commonly inconsistent posts and inconsistent voice
  • Business cards & email signature
  • Brochures – perhaps a company overview and some product cut sheets

Generally, there is little to no coordination or strategic thinking. Dabblers tend to be copy cats. They waste money with marketing tactics and skip the marketing ‘brain work”. Dabblers confuse activity with progress. The equivalent of a Dabbler’s marketing plan for their SMB is as follows: Dabblers spend time and money redecorating the guest room even though it is used a few times a year. They waste valuable marketing dollars and waste time. If dabbling continues on an ongoing basis, it could doom the business.

Are you dabbling? Complete this quick exercise to find out:

FMM Marketing Foundation













Print this out and…

  1. Make a checkmark on any block of the For Marketing Matters Marketing Foundation that you confidently have in place for your business.
  2. Make a checkmark on any block within Marketing Tactics that you confidently have in place for your business

You are dabbling if:

  • Your checkmarks are predominantly in the Marketing Tactics section and the Foundation is weak.
  • PLUS you are not confident the various marketing tactics are delivering ROI.

Results-focused CEOs of SMBs realize the importance of investing in their business. They value strategy and invest in the necessary ‘brain work’ that is required before launching various marketing campaigns or tactics.

Results-focused CEOs and Presidents of SMBs don’t waste time on the equivalent of decorating the guest room. They invest in building and maintaining a strong foundation for their business: the equivalent of investing in the kitchen and bathrooms. Simply, they invest in areas that deliver ROI.

There are many marketing firms who will happily do the work of redesigning your guest room. There are tons of marketing agencies ready to take your money to launch into various marketing tactics. Think designing a new website or launching Google Ad Words campaigns!  What a waste of money if you don’t have the foundation in place. It may be pretty, but the ROI is questionable.

Ready to stop dabbling?

Winter is coming. We New Englanders need strong foundations for our homes. You need the same for your business. Now is the perfect time to get a solid foundation in place. Kick the dabbling habit and get your business set up for growth. For Marketing Matters offers the best outsourced marketing solution. We do the hard work to build the foundation and phase the marketing plan identifying the best marketing tactics to suit your budget and deliver results. An outsourced marketing department that operates as a natural extension of your team. Now that is solid.