I spent more than two decades in the entertainment industry, where I reported on new movies. The competition for audience dollars was fierce. Studios that spent $100M+ to make a film often invested an equal amount in marketing, advertising and promotional events. Sometimes the studios’ excessive spending was the stuff of legend.
One of the most notable cautionary tales in movie marketing happened in the summer of 1993. Columbia Pictures thought they had a sure-fire hit with the Arnold Schwarzenegger action-comedy “Last Action Hero.” They even spent $500,000 to market the movie by slapping the movie title and Schwarzenegger’s name on a NASA rocket. After a lengthy launch delay, the rocket finally went up into space, months after the movie had already been declared a flop.
The moral of the story? Don’t let your marketing budget become a floating piece of space junk. First and foremost, you need to build a marketing strategy and implementation plan.
Waste not, want not
According to Proxima, one of the world’s leading procurement consultants, up to 60% of marketing budgets are wasted. Regardless of your marketing budget, that’s a lot of money spent without seeing results. But why does it happen?
In most cases, wasted marketing budgets result from marketing without a marketing strategy and implementation plan. It results from focusing on actions or tactics without a deeper understanding of what actually works, why it works, and how to action it in the most effective way possible.
This applies across the board to every marketing tactic out there. Digital ads, social media, email campaigns, websites, brochures, swag. You name it. All of these things can work, but to do so effectively, they need to be preceded by a marketing strategy and an implementation plan, or you risk getting zero return.
Say you want to sponsor something big (like a “Last Action Hero” rocket, for example). Before you pursue that opportunity to put your company’s name out there, you should have an informed answer to all of the following:
- What business goal are you trying to achieve?
- How does this help you achieve that business goal?
- Who is your audience, and what is the best way to reach them?
- What is a realistic return on investment, and what timeline can I expect that return to take shape? (more on this in the next blog, stay tuned)
- How does this fit into the bigger picture for both my marketing efforts and my business overall?
If you have answers to all of those things backed by real data and information you can trust, go ahead, sponsor the rocket. If not, then it may be worth reconsidering. You’re in danger of wasting your budget or, at the very least, expecting results that aren’t in line with what’s realistic. Marketing strategy and proper planning bridge that gap.
Ride the rocket
Every tactic out there is there because it can work. From the big rebrand to digital advertising to putting your company logo on stationery you give out to prospects (or rockets sent out to space). But just because it can work doesn’t mean it will. Instead of taking the risk of wasting big portions of your marketing budget by marketing blind, build a marketing strategy and implementation plan. Your bottom line will thank you now and for years to come.