Is your marketing spend providing a return to your business?

Often clients come to us when they want to ‘do some marketing’. When questioned about what, where and why, the answers are often vague and unsure, but what they do know is that they need to do ‘something’. Marketing budgets are tight so they need to be targeted and add value to your business.

So how do you decide what is right for your business?

Often the easiest marketing activities are also the least valuable. This isn’t to say they don’t cost a lot, just that they may not provide value to your business. Some of the most common ‘high cost / low value’ spend we see includes:

  • Sponsorship of an event or entity
  • Hosting a dinner or drinks evening
  • Advertising in magazine or newspaper

Any and all of these activities may be valid and valuable if they are part of an overall programme which is positioning your organisation in a strategic space. However, all too often the reasons for doing this type of marketing we hear are ‘because we’ve always done it’ or ‘because if we don’t our competition will’ or ‘because the client (or our senior manager / partner) expects it’.

If you are sponsoring a local fishing competition, hosting a wine tasting evening, and running brand advertisements in a daily newspaper, with random and differing targets in mind, you are likely to be getting far less return on your investment than a targeted approach.

However, if you are positioning yourself within an industry sector and, as part of that position you sponsor the annual conference, host a CEO dinner of target companies and clients within the sector, and advertise the value you provide that sector in their industry magazine, then you will be getting greater value from that marketing spend.

Don’t forget, you should always (at least) double the $ value you will have to pay of any sponsorship / event / advertising to get the real cost. For example, if a sponsorship costs $5000 you need $5000 to leverage that sponsorship to any effect.

So when you are reviewing your marketing budgets and looking for the things that ‘must stay’ ensure you are looking for the value, not just the historical or fear-driven reason for the spend.

What marketing activities do you get the most value from? What do you suspect you are doing purely out of habit?


Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant