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Is Marketing Debt Preventing Your Success?

We live in a world that wants a quick fix for every issue you face in business. Short on talent and expertise? No problem, just implement some technology. That should solve the issue. Need more customers? Just focus on Lead Generation and putting out better content. Bonus if you can save money by using Generative AI.

But that’s not as simple as it seems, is it? Implementing technology – especially when it has an AI integration – has a very sharp edge. If it is the wrong technology, you can be overspending on tech that is not going to benefit you. And making fast decisions frequently leads to Tech Debt. That’s the price you pay down the road when your coding team sacrifices design, quality and planning to deliver an expedited solution.

Tech Debt almost always results in immediate, sometimes only incremental, gains followed by some cost in efficiency or perhaps even a need to entirely rewrite the code later. As is true of a financial loan, businesses need to consider the future cost of taking these shortcuts and sacrificing quality for the shorter-term gains. Failure to do so, means Tech Debt can cause more financial issues than it solves.

The same is true for Marketing Debt, which may be more common in smaller companies than Tech Debt. This is not spoken about as often, but it can be even more costly to your success. At most small- and mid-size companies, the principal approach to marketing is to implement something quickly and change it later. One example of this is the decision many companies make to build a website using one of the “do-it-yourself” platforms, such as Squarespace or GoDaddy, to keep costs down.

Other examples of this include choosing marketing platforms and tools based on their popularity or name recognition, using Generative AI to create content, and adding tactics or increasing budget to supplement tactics that are thought to be underperforming. As with Tech Debt, Marketing Debt happens when you apply quick fixes or shortcuts, or ignore design, strategy, and best practices because you feel they will take too long or add cost. But like Tech Debt, Marketing Debt adds costs later, and can cause unexpected setbacks later.

The most unexpected costs associated with Marketing Debt are failure to gain appropriate market share, poor customer experience, added customer churn, less effective branding, and loss of traction. Some business leaders are surprised at how much they have sacrificed for the incremental gains they saw after taking these quick actions. Unfortunately, some of the worst impacts are the result of admirable intentions, such as working with an in-niche marketing agency.

In-niche agencies may have industry experience, but they don’t necessarily have marketing expertise. Many are created by people who successfully marketed their own company in a specific industry, and assume they can repeat their success for others. That is not always the case, and it frequently results in templated marketing that hurts more than it helps. While not all in-niche agencies implement ineffective solutions, the issues this can cause are totally avoidable.

How can you avoid Marketing Debt? Start with a solid strategy, then add detailed planning. Don’t rely on your agency to provide all the answers or design all the solutions. Give them appropriate goals, then set KPIs and OKRs to measure their success.

How much is Marketing Debt impacting your success? Let us help you find out! Set up a complimentary strategy call!