Your Marketing Budget: Surgical Spending

When it comes to spending marketing dollars, we don’t always put the same emphasis on different places where we can spend money.

We all do it. I’ll admit it, and you can, too.

I can speak for myself… Over the years, I have wasted a bunch of money on social media marketing, and have zero to show for it.

It’s amazing how easy it is to load your parameters in like you know what you’re doing, and hit publish. Get that hit on your credit card every 30 days as you try to figure out what’s not working.

But, then, we look at other marketing opportunities – a trade show table or a chamber sponsorship or putting your company name on the back of a little league baseball jersey… And THAT money, we scrutinize with intensity.

Why is that?

We talk about this a lot with chamber memberships… Companies that spend much more than the cost of a basic membership on many different things hemming-and-hawing over essentially paying for access to a giant network of people.

It’s a matter of perspective, and we’ve worked hard at Momentum to change that perspective – for ourselves, and for our clients.

And, it works….

Hypertargeted Marketing

Our entire business model at Momentum is about targeting prospects.

Actually, it’s about hypertargeting prospects… Meaning, we help our clients identify exactly who they need to be in front of (either a class of prospect or a specific company), and then we create a strategy to get to them wherever they are.

Our clients don’t cast a wide net in their marketing. We make them surgical.

Using Your Chamber of Commerce: Stop Saying You Need to Meet “Decision Makers”

And, we spend marketing dollars surgically, to meet that goal of getting our clients as close as possible to their perfect prospects.

Seeing marketing through the lens of a small company gives us an interesting perspective – we don’t have boatloads of resources to spend on marketing… Time OR money… So, how do we make the most of what we do have?

Along the way, we’ve learned some things, and I’d like to share with you, perhaps, a few new ways of looking at spending your marketing dollars.

Be in Control of Your Own Marketing

We live in a unique time, filled with opportunity.

Think about it… Like never before, you are able to take your own message to your audience in your own way.

  • You can make your own radio show in the form of a podcast.

  • You can self-publish a book to have a totem for your expertise.

  • You can produce and publish your own music to YouTube and Spotify.

  • You can turn your art into NFTs and put them directly out to the public.

What’s happened is that we’ve gotten rid of the need for the middle man.

If you’re able to build an audience yourself, then you don’t need an agent/publisher/producer/gallery to tell you that your work and your efforts are good enough.

That’s not to say those roles are obsolete… In fact, they’re still very important, as they bring relationships, know-how and other intangibles that you might not have to the table.

But if you know – and, even better, if you already have – your audience, and can get to them yourself, you might not need to pine away trying to get their approval.

Your business book is a great example.

The traditional method of publishing is to secure an agent, who then secures a publisher, who then publishes and widely distributes your book.

Sounds great, huh? It’s what all of us authors want.

But, it’s a looooong process, and you have two entities to convince of the quality of your work before you even get to pitch to your audience.

What if you don’t need your book to be widely distributed?

What if you’re speaking at a conference for 250 people, and need to make sure you make the most impact in the room?

I looked up the numbers… You can self-publish a 100-page book on Amazon for less than $3/book.

Put in a couple hundred bucks for a professional cover design, and for less than $1K, you can not only have a book in Amazon’s marketplace for people to find, but you can give every attendee at that conference a soft cover copy of your expertise.

Note: I’m not going to get into quality here… There is lots of really poorly-constructed self-published content out there. If you go this route, remember that you’re representing yourself, so poor quality will do the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Approach professionally, use test readers/listeners, etc.

The point is… If you have a viable way to reach your audience, then you’re in complete control.

Investing in putting your message directly into their hands is a fantastic use of marketing dollars.

Creating Your Own Audience

A story I like to tell is of my good friend, Damon Piatek, who is a U.S. customs broker and our second client we brought on (longest running now) at Momentum.

When I worked for the chamber back in the day, we had a program where a company could come in and sponsor a session for $2,500, where they got use of our (beautiful) conference room and marketing support to present on anything they wanted.

I remember that companies looking for franchisees would often use this service.

But, Damon did it once, intent upon getting the name of his company out in its early years.

The entire effort successfully recruited four people to attend (and, if I remember correctly, one of them was me)… Hardly a good return on a $2,500 investment – and, unfortunately, consistent with others’ results.

Now, in retrospect, there was a lot wrong with the program… Encouraging a member to talk about whatever they want to talk about isn’t always the best sell.

It looked bad, too… Big, beautiful conference room with no one in it.

When Damon started working with Momentum, we decided we liked the concept, but maybe a different approach.

During that time, Damon had bought a building that was an old health center, and had a classroom in it.

We said let’s build our own program, and see how that works.

So, we did. We built a mailing list of top prospects and sent out about 100 postcards. Bought bagels and coffee for folks, and invited a couple colleagues as speakers to make it a more well-rounded program.

That first time we did it – and emphasis on the word first, because we’ve done it MANY more times – we had 14 people attend.

Damon got two appointments out of it, and landed one client.

So, in contrast – $2,500 in traditional sponsorship that yielded nothing vs. $125 ($100 in postcards and postage, $25 in bagels, cream cheese and coffee) meticulously targeted, and a new client (Damon’s average client is worth $10K).

We (Momentum) love hosting our own programs.

And, why shouldn’t we?

We have the mailing list, and we have great content.

You know what?! So do you.

We love getting speaking roles for our clients, but sometimes you just have to get the ball rolling yourself.

Crazy thing is… With webinars so prominent now, it’s simple and it’s free (though, you should get a subscription to your favorite platform, so your meetings don’t time out)!

You don’t even need the bagels.

Your goals: Expand your network and get leads, leading to 1-on-1 appointments.

But Wait… Turns Out Involving Your Chamber of Commerce in Your Marketing is a Great Idea

Damon’s story above isn’t to disparage the idea of spending money with your chamber… We say it all the time – you should spend money with your chamber!

In fact, we believe you should spend more money with your chamber.

Your chamber of commerce is as close proximity as you’re going to find to your perfect prospects.

Just spend it in the right way, using this same concept.

chamber of commerce, chambers of commerce, chamber, networking, sales, business development, momentumWhere, among your chamber’s programs and events, can you get as close as possible to your “A” prospects?

That’s where you want to spend your money and time.

Once we figured out a system for Damon’s presentations, we did start to approach our chambers of commerce to see if they’d like to host or participate.

Admittedly, sometimes the topics in Damon’s world can be too in-the-weeds for a general chamber audience, but often – and the transition from NAFTA to USMCA was a great example – it’s not only a great topic for the chamber, but one that they’re just not going to do something on, themselves. Win-win (plus, a win for their members).

Damon did his USMCA overview webinars for a slew of organizations in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Sometimes, a chamber will say, yes, let’s do it. Sometimes, they’ll ask for a sponsorship. If that happens, weigh the value.

The key is knowing exactly the audience you need to reach, learning where they hang out, and understanding the best way to get to them.

Once you’ve got that, spending a little to get them is another great use of your resources.

What Can You Give Away that Has Impact?

Now, above, we were talking about reaching the right companies … You can get even more granular than that.

Who are the people that you need to meet?

And, then, what do you do when you meet them?

In July, at our Member Value Roundtable for the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the participants (retail) expressed that she’s trying to meet people with a very specific responsibility – a job title that’s not all that easy to find at a networking event.

At every Member Value Roundtable, our participants fill out a worksheet on what they’re hoping to get out of their chamber membership.

After the session’s over, I personally review all of these worksheets and offer some additional thoughts on strategies, tactics and activities they can take to implement.

The suggestion I offered was that since this company knew exactly who they needed to be in front of, it was imperative that when they find that person, they hook them and reel them in.

Without giving away too much, my thought was to have on their person at all times $25 gift cards, so that when the exact, right, targeted, perfect person manifested themselves, there was an easy way, on-the-spot, to get them to come visit.

Not a follow-up e-mail or phone call. Not sending something in the mail. Not, “Here’s my business card.”

Right then and there, get them.

Get THAT person, who has the power to bring you significant business if you’re able to build a worthwhile relationship with them, to see the light.

Many companies have trouble thinking this way.

They see the dollars and, in the traditional sense of thinking, giving away gift cards isn’t marketing.

They will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on social media and in traditional marketing to cast a wide net, but don’t understand bending over backwards to get an “A” prospect in the door.

You don’t need to give away 100s of gift cards.

You just need to give them away to a prospect who has a high percentage of 10xing the investment.

We all spend so much time, money and effort trying to get in front of the perfect prospect…. Once you do, how are you going to make them feel like the perfect prospect?

Think Trade Show Marketing… All the Time

This stems, to some degree, from the approach we take with trade show giveaways.

Let’s get one thing straight… No one ever bought anything from you because they liked your chip clip.

For some reason, though, you’ve got to have chip clips on your table (yes, we are well aware of the refrigerator-based psychology behind them).

But, here’s a question: Is it in your best interest to give the same SWAG at your trade show booth to the couple who’s sneaking around taking stuff without talking to anyone and to the person who comes into your booth and has a meaningful conversation with a possible future relationship?

Not at all.

#marketing #tradeshow #momentumChip clips, pens and stress balls have their purpose.

But the way we do it, once you come in and have a conversation with us, there’s a hierarchy of SWAG underneath the table.

Window shopping? Have a chip clip.

Interested? Come on in and have a portfolio.

Avid? What’s your sweatshirt size?

You’ve bought SWAG before.

What’s a chip clip cost you? 50 cents each (I haven’t looked in a while).

A nice sweatshirt could be $30-$40. (Note: It helps to design cool clothing with trendy designs that people will actually wear – not just your logo)

Are we going to display the sweatshirts and show them to everyone? Nope.

Do we give a $40 sweatshirt to someone that we don’t feel is at least 75% on their way to becoming a client? Nope.

Are we more than comfortable giving away a $40 piece of SWAG to someone who shows genuine interest, asks good questions and sets up a follow-up appointment with us? All day, every day.

So, back to the $25 gift card concept in the previous section…

Why can’t we make that switch in our mind, from being willing to do that kind of marketing at a trade show, but not in every day life?

As business people, we must always be vigilant for an “A” prospect to cross our paths.

Admit it… You spend days pining over what SWAG you’ll bring to your trade show, to give away to people, a large percentage of whom are simply filling their complementary canvas bags with as much crap as they can get.

How much time to you put into making sure your sales team is adequately armed to captivate… Yes, captivate… an “A prospect”, at any given moment?


At Momentum – The Business Growth Agency, we believe your marketing dollars can be used more surgically and targeted than you’re using them.

Every tactic outlined above – we’ve used in real life. Want to talk about how to put all of this into action for your company? Let’s chat. Set up a 15-minute Zoom with us here.