Marketers: Stop Allocating Budgets To These Money-Wasters In 2020!

The new year is nearly upon us, and the media is filled with predictions and lookbacks. I have frequently have been part of this time-honored tradition, but this year I've decided to take a slightly different approach. Instead of predicting what will be the go-tos in 2020, I have decided to tell you where NOT to spend your dollars or large amounts of your time.

The number-one time and money-waster is any of the shiny new objects that everybody is talking about (I am looking at you, CES 2020). Remember when connected TVs, Google Glass and the Amazon Fire Phone were going to provide break-through platforms that would force mass marketing out of the box, and into the promised land of end-to-end, personalized one-on-one marketing? 

Because hindsight is 20/20, we now know that, of course, they didn’t. And I am going to say the same for AI, AR and voice-activated anything.

Don’t get me wrong, these emerging technologies have and will continue to find a role in society and business. But I don’t think they deserve any significant share of your marketing dollars for the foreseeable future.



I am tempted to lump in connected TV sets, blockchain and the cloud. While I see utility for these platforms, I am still looking for proof that they have built or sustained any important brand or sales marketing metric for anyone. 

The second big time and money waster is poorly thought out and managed agency pitches. More than half the time I have been involved in a pitch, part of the reason for the poor performance of an agency was the poor performance, organization and marketing management of the client. Changing agencies without changing how you work with and manage that agency is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Third and final on my list is, perhaps controversially, social media. Even though Google Buzz, Google Plus, Ello, Tumblr and Flickr all failed or are in the process of failing, social media is still playing a crucial (and still evolving) role in our lives.

It’s also true that we have yet to see a compelling case where social media played a significant role in the establishment or continued success of a brand or service. Those cheeky tweets you are sending out, with all the time and effort it takes in the marketing and legal department to get them tweet-ready? Minor, if any impact (be honest: have you measured their impact?). 

Those Insta-stories you are carefully curating with the help of influencers, agencies, in-house teams and (again) the legal time for approvals? Who knows what that really does for your brand or service (until you make a faux pas, and you become the social media outrage moment of the day, with a hashtag going against you to boot)?

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for experiments in all types of consumer touch points. And I am all for following your gut, a hunch or even the herd. But let’s measure. Let’s experiment with purpose, goals and post-activity analysis.

Therefore, I would place my marketing money in 2020 on more “knowing” and less “doing.” Let’s make sure we invest the majority of our precious time and budgets in stuff we know will benefit our marketing efforts. If you do that, I’m sure you’ll have a successful year.

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