Save 80% of your marketing communications budget

A little while ago, I was standing in a room with the Marketing Director of a fairly large Information Communications Technology (ICT) company. We were looking at unopened boxes of all shapes and sizes. They covered most of the floor space and were piled 5 feet high. This was one year’s worth of unused sales and marketing collateral. Each year, the room is emptied and fills up again with all manner of “stuff”.

When I shared this experience with my colleagues, we decided it would be valuable to ICT firms if we went out and measured how much sales and marketing collateral is wasted, why waste happens and what can be done to reduce it.

The result we found is that a staggering 80% of sales and marketing collateral produced goes unused.

This waste isn’t a simple case of over-printing brochures. It includes entire campaigns that have been resourced and not executed, ill-thought-through materials created for exhibitions, sales guides that don’t reflect the challenges that sales people are facing, poor Google Ads... the list goes on and on. The bald fact is that for every thousand pounds a UK ICT company spends on sales and marketing collateral, £800 is wasted.

Why does this happen?

At the heart of the problem is that sales and marketing still don’t work together effectively. Most business leaders in UK ICT suppliers don’t ask marketing to account for the revenues its activities create, what impact it has on share of wallet or how it creates and fine-tunes a database of prospects with relevant information that helps sales people to sell.

The result of this long-standing status quo is that sales people disengage from marketing and go off to make their own collateral. In fact, sales people in UK ICT companies spend almost ¼ of their time creating their own collateral. Worse; the material they create lowers the quality of how the business presents itself to its customers because sales people focus on their pitch first and are often insensitive to how good it looks.

Worse still; this extra cost is not factored in to the £800 wasted in every thousand pounds spent currently.

What can you do to stop this waste?

Stop waste

I recommend that you stop spending money on sales and marketing collateral until you have taken three key steps…

  1. Reconsider what marketing does for your business. Marketing should be about outcomes, not output. A lot of ICT marketing focuses on building confusing websites, creating glossy brochures that customers don’t want and gaining column inches in publications that customers often don’t read. What businesses forget to ask is; “What is this collateral meant to do? Who is it aimed at? What do I expect to happen when someone comes in contact with it?”
  2. Align your sales and marketing people. Create a shared understanding of what each function should be doing to increase revenues.
  3. Change how marketing is measured. Introduce success measures linked to business performance.

When you take these steps you will stop wasting money on collateral. You should also find that your sales people have more time to sell and that your marketing people are energised because they have the opportunity to make a real difference to your bottom line.

I love it when everybody wins!