Ways to Waste Your Marketing Budget – Expert Roundup

I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. Marketers are wasting half of their budget and fail to measure the effectiveness of their strategies.

As you are already aware, the marketing budget is only an approximated budget. However, your hard earned money can go waste if you are not going to channel your expenses properly.

Waste occurs when the marketing methods fail to reach the target customers or don’t generate adequate responses.
Outbound marketing is the method wherein a business reaches out to potential buyers of their offerings. Digital marketing mainly uses inbound marketing to get the attention of people online, either through earned or owned media.

So we have gathered 2 experts who talk about what are those things that make your budget go down the drain. 

Sreeshma Ganesh

Works as a Content Writer at Zuan Education. A leading digital marketing training institute in Chennai. She is an avid reader and a passionate researcher. She enjoys writing and believes in providing content that is both enlightening and entertaining.

Choice of advertisement

Advertising is inevitable when it comes to marketing. However, there are places where you could yield a minimum result. Advertising through newspapers and magazines may not be the best option for you as it is very expensive, and at the same time, hard to measure the results. A well-known brand is easily recognized, and hence, consumers are likely to pay attention when they come across an advertisement. However, for the majority of the business enterprises out there, the result could be quite bitter. You will have to advertise frequently or on a consistent basis to get noticed. But then, that can be quite expensive.

So, unless you have a brand that you could flaunt or crisp notes that you could shed, it is advisable not to consider those traditional ways of advertising. Instead, try email marketing or ad campaigns. Don’t forget those free marketing options available online. Once you start becoming visible, you can easily widen your advertising options too. 

Target Audience

A proper understanding of the Middlemen Puzzle expected clients would solve a lot of problems, and save a lot of money! Before you jump into your choice of advertisement, it is advisable that you look into the kind of customers that you are expecting. If you are a business enterprise catering to the needs of local customers, it would be pointless to spend your resources on advertisements that have a wider audience. Remember, the advertising agency will charge you for their worth and not for yours.

The Middlemen Puzzle

Avoiding a lot of unnecessary middlemen can avoid a lot of unnecessary expenses. When there are a lot of people involved in the making, delivering, and marketing of advertisements, they are likely to trust (or more like pushing) the works on somebody else. Though the work might get done in the end, the resources spent on the extras are a loss to the enterprise. So, directing and assigning work properly is required.

Back-firing Inspiration

Getting inspiration is never a wrong thing. However, you should have a proper understanding of your inspiration and yourself. What works for them needn’t work for you. Their strengths needn’t correspond with yours. Companies with a big brand name, strong resources, solid cash, and a known face can do a lot of things that the developing businesses cannot. Popular consumer brands enjoy a natural power when it comes to marketing because they trade things consumers really want. So make your marketing tactics applicable to your business by considering it’s size, market, customers, and products.

Forgetting the Free Mediums

Since there are a lot of free advertising means available, it is undoubtedly a waste of money by not making use of those. You can use Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Writing and maintaining blogs which are optimized for the search engines can get your business enough attention. Youtube is yet another effective portal through which you can gain free publicity.

The Unexciting Freebies

Promotional gifts? Freebies? Thinking of offering those to your customers? Before you let that idea of yours get materialized, try putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Ask yourself a couple of questions; what kind of gifts entices you? What is that you want? Most of the customers tend to get confused between their needs and wants. And they tend to follow their desire than their needs. For example, company A offers a coupon for a free Pizza and B offers a free health check-up, the customer would more likely end up choosing the Pizza. While the latter is an important offer, the former is an enticing one. Hence, if you are thinking of giving away some freebies, better spend your resources carefully. Marketing is all about offering people what they want, not necessarily what they need.

Promoting through Sponsorships

Sponsorship is yet another way to gain attention. You might have come across several fliers or banners of community events and NGO programs with the names of certain companies printed in large letters? Ever thought of it as a good way to draw people’s attention to your business? Well, it is not a bad idea, as long as you have plenty of resources to invest. Those big letters on the banner will cost you more than you can imagine.

Of course, you can sponsor a meager amount and aim for a place in the banners or fliers, but you may end up getting only a small place to put up your logo in a much smaller size. Often, these tiny logos go unnoticed by the majority of the potential customers. It is better to seek a better way to promote your business than spend it on a portal that will lose you money. However, it is great to be socially responsible. It is just that including sponsorships and charity events while laying out your marketing budget might not go as well as you expect.  

Thinking Big

It is great to think big. However, it is not always helpful when you do that. As you should be aware, thinking big costs you big money. Hence, learn to concentrate on your surroundings. Start thinking regionally. Focus on your neighborhood. You can fund a small event in your locality. That wouldn’t cost you much, yet will give you an opportunity to meet with your potential customers. Or print some pamphlets and leave them at a local store. Try analyzing how and where your ideal customers are likely to spend their time. Go ahead and use your marketing skills

Poor Judgment

One of the easiest ways to waste your marketing budget is through poor allotment. There are loads of ways to market your business, but the question is where to focus and how much does each section require.

Forgetting to Collaborate

Collaboration is one of the cheapest ways to market your firm. Getting cooperative, non-competitive businesses in your locality to cross-promote can be really beneficial. It is quite effective and doesn’t cost you much. Hence, although you may not lose money by ignoring this perspective, you can save a lot by using this marketing technique.

Neglecting the Messaging Platform

Again, this doesn’t appear like a waste. However, email and SMS are currently two of the most efficient channels to reach a wider customer base. If you lack a good percentage of email addresses or phone numbers, you are probably not making good use of the marketing budget.

Poor Socializing Activities

While social networking is a boon to all marketers, the traditional method of socializing shouldn’t be dismissed. Getting to know people is a good place to start building a business. Yes, networking requires time, but a strong network is a necessity for a business to strive.

Lack of Marketing Optimisation

It is a fact that many marketers don’t spend time optimizing their current marketing activities. Spending some time in testing and improving the existing strategies could provide a greater return on investment than launching completely new tactics. This absence of marketing optimization produces one of the greatest marketing budget wastes.

Expensive Experts

Yes, research is indeed an important part of our job. Having an expert’s opinion on various matters can be an enlightening experience. However, hiring expensive experts to travel to the workplace and taking time out of a team’s workday can have a contradictory influence on the marketing budget.

Doing Expos and Tradeshows

Trade shows help people find out what’s new and unique in the business. A business often enters a tradeshow with the expectation that it will come away with more sales leads. It sounds plausible. However, there is a glitch. Often an organization spends a big part of their marketing budget on the expo. You need the space and that can cost you a lot. Traveling expenses of your employees and a few other necessities will add up to that. So the question is, whether the investment earns adequate sales leads?  So be prepared to face some disappointments.

Overlooking the Existing Customer

Getting a new customer will cost you more than maintaining an existing customer. You are likely to lose more than you imagine if you are unable to retain your existing customers. Hence, it is advisable to spare a part of your budget on your existing customers 


We have come down to the simplest and the most important point of our discussion. Yes, misplanning. The lack of proper planning inevitably leads to loses. In order to overcome that, a lot of research and concentration should be put in. A good plan yields a good result.

Belabbes Ibrahim

BELABBES Ibrahim is a freelance writer who offers to ghostwrite and blogging services. I work closely with B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases their search engine visibility. Check out his blog for more information.

Lack of a solid marketing strategy

If you’ve achieved financial success without planning, consider yourself lucky. Success in business without strategic planning is possible, but most businesses get some momentum then stall and hit roadblocks. A marketing strategy helps analyze all aspects of your business that are not efficient and do the necessary tweaks to get back on track.

A marketing plan is not a guarantee of success. However without a strategy in place, you will reach fewer clients, your business grows slowly, and you will end up spending more money on advertising with little ROI. You risk losing your marketing budget if you rely on the hit or miss approach of advertising. Also, you may feel like you’re desperately searching for customers and waiting to see who buy your products.

Targeting the wrong audience.

The cost of marketing to the wrong people can cost you a fortune. In my opinion, the lead conversion rate is the most important metric that every marketing should consider. Creating ads and sending visitors to your website page is just a small piece of the puzzle. You need to convert those visitors into leads and clients.

Your visitors should become customers. If this not the case, then it is a sign that you are targeting the wrong audience and the money you spend on advertising will serve to nothing.

It’s time to target a different audience, or you will continue bleeding money for nothing.

Comments, likes, and shares are also indicators of customers engagement. If the engagement is low, then there is a good chance you aren’t reaching the right people for your business.

You forget that your customers are people.

One of the biggest mistakes online marketers make is praising too much their products. They spend a fortune on ads and write entire copy that talks about how awesome and great this product is. The truth is when you do this too much, you sound desperate and a client can smell it from miles away.

A great product is good for your credibility as a marketer, but people don’t care about it, they only care about themselves. How can you help them solve their problems? Are going to make their lives easier? What makes you different?

If you are not solving their problems, your marketing efforts will suffer as well as your button line.

You focus too much on advertising

Throwing money massively on advertising without understanding the big picture of your business may drain your marketing budget. I used to check regularly internet marketing forums and communities and noticed this problem. Most internet marketers believe if they spend x amount of dollar on marketing campaigns, they will get Y amount of sales. This is a huge trap that you should avoid at all cost.

Spending more money on advertising your business may help your business in the short term, but In marketing, quality is more important than quantity.

Effective marketing is delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.


Tracking software is a must for your online business. Data collection and analytics tools help determine important information like:

  • Which traffic sources are generating the most traffic?
  • How much you’re spending on each traffic source?
  • What type of people is most responsive?

Many tracking tools are available and most of them are free. However, many online marketers neglect the importance of data analysis in business. They entirely rely on assumptions and intuitions rather than real information.

Email Marketing.

The purpose of any business is to get and acquire customers. One of my biggest mistakes made when I started marketing affiliate products is I didn’t use email marketing. If you’re afraid of spending money on CMR software then you’re losing money

People rarely make a purchase the first time they see a product. Tools like Aweber, GetResponse, and Infusionsoft help build a relationship with your customers and sell to them again and again. As you spend money on online marketing, you want to get the highest return from investment and email marketing allows to do that. If you’re not doing so, you will get a negative ROI.

Brand Awareness is The Wrong Target

Brand awareness is one of the best things you can do for your business. It’s an essential element to make your target audience aware of your products and services. However, brand awareness is the wrong objective. If you are spending money on advertisement and creating content to make your brand known in hope of gaining massive exposure, then your wasting time and money. As a marketer, your entire focus should be around selling your products to your audience.

Lack Of Specialty.

Customers who shop online aren’t looking for many purchase different products at once. At least at the beginning. Most people on the internet are looking for something very specific like a weight loss program for adult, Business coaching, debt consulting..etc. Whether you are using PPC ads or content marketing your goal should be convincing your visitors to buy that product from you. Sending your visitors to your homepage or somewhere else where you’re not selling your products and service, then you’re wasting your time and marketing budget.

Chasing New Customers

The most important sales in your business are the first ones you make to a new customer. The time you spend on creating content and the cost of your ads to get a new customer – combined with CRM software and SEO tools can drain your profit you made on that sale. The real profit comes from selling additional products to your existing customers, in other increasing your customer value.

It costs less to retain a customer than spending additional money on ads to acquire a new one.

Never forget that the purpose of business to acquire and keep customers. If you continue to invest your marketing budget on getting new customers rather retaining new one, then you will lose along the way.

Lack of A Lead Capture Page.

No matter how much you spend on a lead capture page, it’s worth it. In fact, the cost of not investing on a page builder tools cost more than creating a new one.

In my opinion, a lead capture page is the most important page on your website. Whether it is for your product or newsletter, this page can make or break your business. Not every visitor who comes to your website will purchase what you’re selling. People get distracted easily online, If you don’t capture their information right way and promote to them regularly, they may forget website by the time they’re ready to buy.

Buying Junk Traffic

Although tons of traffic sources are available online, there are some terrible ones. Of course, you will get tons of visitors, they will not convert to leads and customers. I’m talking here about Giveaway events, buying email lists, and traffic exchange. If you continue using these sources, besides the constant disappointment you will get, the desire to give is just a matter of time.

Spending money on ‘big marketing’ too quickly

Starting a new business can be exciting and the internet makes it extremely easy. When the excitement speaks, you make decisions with your emotions instead of logic.

You created a killer PPC ad and crafted many pieces of contents, and you want to make a profit as soon as possible.

Rushing in business is very common among marketers, especially the beginners. At this stage, you should rein that rush and start slow, or you will blow your budget early in this game.

One of the main reasons to start slow if you don’t know yet what traffics sources, ads, social media platforms work well for you.

Marketing blindly without testing all aspects of your business is essentially gambling on what you think might work for you.

Aggressive Email Blasts

Email marketing is a smart investment, it is the best tool to promote your business and, it’s well known that it delivers a higher ROI. Many people are making the mistake to send the same message to their entire list. This results in a higher unsubscribe rate and low engagement. The days of aggressive email blasts have gone.

People are aware of this type of emails and they sense the person behind this email is desperate to sell his thing.

Your email newsletter could be suspended if people start to report you as a spammer.

You’re not standing out.

The digital world of commerce has become harder than ever. New and old brands are fiercely competing to gain the attention of their target audiences. It seems the only way to do it is to be different and stand out from your competition.

If you can’t project your personality and values in your marketing, customers won’t have any reasons to buy from you. People won’t purchase anything unless they have a strong to reasons to give you their credit cards.

You’re Using the Wrong source of traffic.

PPC, Content Marketing, Social Madia, and SEO are great ways to market your business. Each one of these requires specific knowledge and skill to guarantee its effectiveness and maximize your bottom line. However, there is no guarantee they will work with you because every business is different and audiences response for different marketing channels.  

You need to do a lot of testing for different marketing channels. Also, you should learn about your audience and ask questions like who are they? Where do they spend their time?…etc.

Skipping this phase and marketing on assumptions can cost a lot of money.

Your content is too promotional

Pissing off your customers with a lot of promotion is the last thing you want to do. Of course, your goal is to make sales, but you need to give something first. That thing has to be a solution to a specific problem. Pitching your products over and over is the wrong approach to do business with people.

Giving too much so you look smart

The worst thing you can do is to be boring and overwhelming. People are easily distracted online if they don’t get what they’re looking for fast. Your content on web pages have to be informative and focused on who they will benefit from your business. So show the value and don’t try hard to sell.

Skipping The Market Research Phase

Market research has always been an integral part of any business strategy. It gives digital marketers enough information about their target audience such as where potential customers are, how can they reach them, what problems are facing, etc.

Skipping the market research phase can make your marketing weaker and waste a lot of energy to make your campaigns profitable. Let say you want to lunch a product. How can you find solutions for potential problems if you don’t have a deep insight into your product, audience, and competition?

Building a Following on Social Media is a fruitless pursuit

Many digital marketers are still that building a following on social media sites can lead to success. Social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter, have become the buzz topic for many businesses to reach potential customers in different industries. While building a following remain important in marketing, it is still an ineffective strategy for selling your products and marketing your business.

Not Testing Enough

No matter how well you know your industry, audience, and product, you will never know what marketing message is going to work best. Assuming your first ad, article, a blog will perform well is a huge mistake and can cost you a lot of money. Testing different ad copy, headlines, and sale page is a strategic process that allows you to find new ways to increase your click-through rate.

Edwin Deponte

A motivational writer who is also passionate about Digital Marketing. He believes in others’ abilities and tends to bring out people’s hidden potentials through his words of inspirations and motivational articles.

  1. Failing to allocate the proper budget for your industry or company. Look at what your competitors are spending. It is impossible to get an exact amount but at least looks for the average for your industry.
  2. Unprepared budget. Having a separate budget strictly for marketing is essential. Do not use revolving funds for your products.
  3. Not having a contingency plan. It is vital to have a plan in case there are unexpected costs.
  4. You will fail if you are outdated. A lot of platforms and tools are coming out always. Keep track of what is booming and what is flopping. Use the right tools and platforms that can draw in more potential buyers.
  5. Bootstrapping for too long. Although marketing is essential, do not continue wasting time and effort in marketing in exchange for other business activities. It is only reasonable to bootstrap for the first two years of a company.
  6. Not hiring a branding expert. Hiring an expert on marketing is crucial. There are companies like JSMM-VBM who can help you with this problem. It takes time to master marketing so let the experts handle it.
  7. Focusing on only one or two marketing strategies. It is better to invest in different strategies early in the company. Then once you are spread out enough, start digging deep into those strategies. This will help you know which plans are worth the investment.
  8. Not computing for return on investment. It is a massive blunder for your company if you do not measure the ROI of your marketing strategies. You will be wasting a lot of resources on an unsuccessful plan.
  9. Failing to ax a failing marketing plan. If there is no ROI in your strategy, then stop it even if you have already spent a lot on that campaign.
  10. Not optimizing your website. Wasting a lot of money creating a website is not sufficient if you fail to SEO the site.
  11. Not having a slush fund. Whenever you have an excess in your budget for a specific strategy, put that money into a slush fund. This can help you have a backup in case of emergency costs.
  12. Not knowing your needs. Before spending on a marketing plan, make sure that you know what you need to achieve.
  13. Failing to consider risks. Not all strategies will pay off. Before starting one, make sure you know what you are risking for this project.
  14. Not taking advantage of social media. Social media is a powerful platform that can significantly increase business growth. Use these platforms to be known online.
  15. Only visible online. You should also be physically visible to people. Attend conferences or conventions to be personally seen by your customers.
  16. Irrelevant posts online. Other people think that quantity is better than quality. It almost always is not the case. Keep in line with the goal of your business.
  17. Not knowing where your target audience is located. Do your research to see if you are using the right tool or platform to reach your desired target market.
  18. Doing more than you can handle. Even though it is better to have a lot of strategies, make sure that you can manage the execution of those strategies.
  19. Not having online visibility. Millions of people are using the internet every day. There is a higher chance to reach out to a lot of people online quicker than doing it personally.
  20. Not setting goals. Know what your goals are so you can compare your results to the strategies that you are implementing.

Jimmy Rodriguez

COO & Co-founder of 3dcart, a leading shopping cart software. As an e-commerce authority, he’s focused on helping internet retailers succeed online by developing strategies, actionable plans and customer experiences that grow and improve performance.

There are a few ways you can waste your marketing budget.

One of them being a lack of testing. The good thing with marketing in the modern day is that it can be tested and measured. Because it can be measured, it can also be improved. Gone are the days when you don’t know what your marketing is doing. With digital marketing, you can identify exactly where the waste is if you test, more specifically, A/B test.  Always run two to three ads at the same time and constantly try to pick the winner. Once you have one, add another variation into the rotation and repeat the process.

Another way to waste your marketing budget is to engage in marketing activities that can’t be measured. A lot of times businesses will pay an influencer or throw up a billboard but not include a direct way to track those efforts. This becomes a waste because you have no idea if you are getting a return on your investment.

Lastly, not having proper funnels set up. Having good marketing is of the utmost importance because it determines the journey the customer goes through, and most importantly, that customers lifetime value. For example, if you are running a PPC campaign for an e-commerce store, and you make a sale, that customer should not go into a database that will receive an email drip campaign of valuable content and offers. Once that customer responds to one of them, they should go into another funnel dedicated specifically to repeat customers. You can provide a lot more value for your customers and for your company if you are structuring proper funnels.


It might be almost impossible to achieve zero wastage. And it is not necessary that you should avoid doing all these. However, it would be healthier for your business if you consider these points while preparing your marketing budget.