Marketing Is A Waste Of Money

Ben McGary
3 min readJul 3, 2021


3 ways you’re throwing it all away

Small business owners often believe that marketing is the key to success. What they don’t realize is that most methods out there won’t work for them. This can be a waste of valuable time and money.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

At this point, it might sound like I hate marketing and I’m about to tell you why marketing isn’t worth it. But, in reality, the opposite is true. I love marketing and believe that it can be extremely valuable and effective, generating a high ROI, when approached and executed properly.

The challenge is many people (including those who just completed a course on Facebook) don’t know how to do great marketing for small businesses — which means they end up wasting money on ineffective campaigns.

Whether you handle your marketing in-house, have a friend help out, or hire a professional agency, you’re most likely to think Marketing Is A Waste Of Money if:

1. You don’t have a specific offer.

Look, it’s great that you have 37 products in 15 variations AND you can do custom work, you know…EVERYTHING, but that’s killing your marketing budget in most cases.

While there are exceptions to every rule, there is a reason I listed this one first. Keep it simple on your campaigns, especially when you first start by offering only one offer per campaign.

Before you freak out about how you’ll decide on “just one?” offer to promote, think of Subway’s campaign for one offer:

2. You don’t have a defined target audience.

Similar to the offer, if you can’t define it, you’ll never find it…or them. Of course, you want as many customers as possible from every corner of the world, don’t we all?

Defining your audience allows you to segment your marketing campaigns to meet the needs of the right audience, in the right place, (hopefully) at the right time.

Get as detailed here as you can, even if it takes some time. Who do you serve? Where do they live, hang out, and get information? How old are they, what are their interests, what family do they have? What do they do, where do they go, who do they know?

Starting to get it? Good. Because what matters to someone in NYC is much different than someone in rural MO, and they can both be your customer if your marketing is targeted properly.

3. You don’t have a process in place for success.

Perfect offer to provide results to those you serve = Check.
Target audience well defined = Check.
Lead capture, nurture, and conversion systems in place = Uh oh

First, you should ALWAYS go revenue first, in my opinion. But you should at least know how you’ll fulfill the offer you’re selling IF the marketing campaign actually works. I know, crazy.

The biggest problem for most business owners is that there are often too many options available for websites, sales funnels, landing pages, calendar scheduling, contact management, email and sms marketing, online checkout, and other tools used to capture, nurture, and convert leads into customers. THEN, you still have to fulfill whatever you’ve sold.

Take a few minutes before launching a campaign to sketch out an idea of how you’ll fulfill a successful campaign. What software will you need? What steps are involved?

Once you feel you’re ready, run a test sample on your marketing campaign (closely monitor and pause the campaign at the desired amount of interaction/conversion), and adjust accordingly.


So, there you have my take, Marketing Is A Waste Of Money if you don’t have a specific offer, defined target audience, and process for success.

Create one offer per campaign, get specific on who you serve, and know what you’ll do when it works before launching your next marketing campaign to give yourself the best chance of a positive ROI.



Ben McGary

Writing about things that matter to me when they matter to me and hoping that they’ll matter to you.