No matter how limited your budget, a piecemeal marketing approach of jumping onto the latest bandwagon, is usually not wise or cost-effective.

Putting up a Facebook Business Page or adding a QR Code to print collateral will be effective only if your strategic plan calls for those initiatives and they are properly implemented and managed. Don’t get me wrong, both can be extremely effective, but not simply because you use them.

See my post What Businesses Are Doing Wrong with QR Codes.

Neither Facebook or QR Codes are a business promotion quick fix. In fact, they can both be a waste of money if they are not the best use of your marketing dollars.

How do you know which initiatives will best utilize your marketing budget?

Well, you’ll first need to take an in-depth look at what you are doing and why….and more importantly, what you are not doing.

What you need is a Marketing Strategy – one that’s been developed by the appropriate professional. And I’m not talking about your web designer who thinks s/he has marketing expertise because they add social media links and email capture forms to your website. That’s popularity-based piecemeal marketing and will likely give you inconsistent piecemeal results.

You might think you can’t go wrong with social media links, but actually you can. If your prospects and customers go to your Twitter account or your Facebook Business Page and you are not versed in the social media protocol that will give them what they want and keep them engaged, you can lose them with a click of a button. And in most cases you will never see them again.

Don’t fall into the trap of the marketing bandwagon. Business owners, like everyone else, are strongly influenced by trends. Trends are important to pay attention to, but don’t forget to think for yourself rather than following blindly. Get the advice of a marketing expert, not your friends or business associates. Even if a business colleague has gotten great results with specific marketing tactics, those same activities may not translate to success for your business. And even if they do, you might have loose ends about how a particular initiative fits into your overall strategy, how it interfaces with other initiatives and the essential details of its implementation.

And what you may never know is what opportunities you missed, including the additional customers you could have attracted and converted, had you followed a skillfully crafted strategic plan.

Individual initiatives that are not part of a strategic plan are merely marketing “activities” and likely won’t lead to a fully successful campaign that helps you meet your business development goals.

The launch of any initiative requires a comprehensive understanding of today’s digital and social media protocol, as well as considerations of the complexities of context, scope, timing, management, tracking, and analysis.

While your current activities may not necessarily be off the mark, you are likely only accessing the tip of the iceberg in terms of your marketing potential.

I’m not talking about high-budget campaigns that you can’t afford. I’m talking about things you don’t know about, innovative approaches you will never think of, and creative strategies. I’m talking about the smart use of your business development dollars. If you are serious about your business and want to build your customer base and increase your market share, don’t do your own marketing.

Outsource it, just as you do for legal matters, bookkeeping, and taxes. You can be closely involved and there are certainly marketing tasks you can perform, but you’ll have guidance and will feel confident that your activities are on track and making a difference for your business.

Your marketing budget will be best spent on an in-depth assessment and and a marketing plan based on those findings. Hire a marketing consultant with expertise and creative skills, who can design an effective strategy.

I just might know someone. Winking smile