Are You Unknowingly Wasting Money on Google Ads?

Are You Unknowingly Wasting Money on Google Ads?

Are You Unknowingly Wasting Money on Google Ads?

Written By


Did you know companies waste thousands of dollars a year on the wrong keywords?

According to Statista, Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost 134.81 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. The story that often doesn’t get reported, though, is how much of that revenue is from WASTED ad spend by companies.

Seer Interactive found that, on average, 12.5 percent of paid search budgets are spent on keywords or search terms that are either irrelevant to a company’s product/service, or aren’t converting (one of our clients had more than 30% of wasted spend!) Let’s say your monthly budget is $1,000 ($12,000 per year). That’s an estimated $1,500 in wasted spend (a month and half’s worth of budget!). What could you do with that extra $1,500? What if you could re-allocate it to search terms that have already proven to drive results? Think about how much more quickly you could achieve your goals.

How (if at all) are you monitoring your Google Ads spend?

Are you maintaining your account on a monthly, or even weekly basis to ensure that you’re eliminating terms that are eating your budget? More importantly, what are you doing with those savings to help you meet your goals more efficiently?  According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report, companies that track their inbound marketing are 17x more likely to see a positive ROI than companies without good analytics in place. However only 57.7 percent of Google Ads accounts actually have tracking set up for their site and campaigns. 97 percent of accounts without proper analytics set up fail.

Companies have neither the time nor the know-how to leverage data the right way when strategizing and executing PPC campaigns. 

Google provides a wealth of data, but it’s often cumbersome to mine through it and generate actionable insights. Skipping this step, though, will taint your strategy, minimize your results and ultimately lead to an inefficient use of budget.

For example, according to Seer, it can take up to 250 hours to evaluate 6,000 search queries manually. It’s extremely tedious, as you have to export out search terms and keywords in excel, manually review them, and then optimize your ads (sometimes you have hundreds or even thousands of rows filtered by clicks and cost). Marketers often fall prey to the misconception that by following Google’s recommendations and SMART Bidding, they are automatically optimizing their accounts. They might notice a wasted click at $0.83 cents and not think too much about it. But, what happens if there are 20 clicks at $0.83? Google doesn’t need any more money, so stop giving it to them!

We have a solution: our free PPC inefficiency calculator 

&Marketing’s Business Intelligence and Analytics team created a free PPC calculator that will estimate how much of your monthly budget you are spending on irrelevant or low-performing keywords. No, the calculator isn’t an exact science, but it does give you a solid estimate of how much money you could be saving. All you need to do is input your monthly PPC spend, your average conversion rate, and your average cost per click, and voila! You can review your estimated monthly wasted spend, as well as the number of clicks and conversions you might be missing out on. 

Success Story: We recovered nearly 20 percent of one client’s budget!

A current client of ours – the leading supplier of Pool & Spa inventory and retail software services – engaged us to complete a Business Intelligence and Analytics project to understand their current paid search efforts and how they could be optimized. Through this process and the use of our calculator, we:

  • Discovered that 19 percent of their budget was wasted on expensive, low-performing keywords
  • Re-allocated that spend to higher-performing keywords 
  • Saw a 446 percent increase in conversions and a 93 percent lower cost per click

Want an even deeper dive into your PPC account? We’re offering a FREE comprehensive PPC audit!

For a more in-depth look, take advantage of our free PPC audit. Just follow the instructions to upload your search terms, and we’ll get back to you within one business day the amount of wasted spend your paid search account has. 

About the Authors

As a Marketing Director at &Marketing, Paul Ferguson uses his 16 years of B2B marketing experience to help clients develop fully integrated marketing solutions that make impressions and drive results. Whether it be design-oriented campaigns or digital market execution, Paul skillfully creates strategies backed by data, to effectively reach client’s desired audiences. Paul graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a double minor in Marketing and Business Administration. Visit Paul’s LinkedIn.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Content Marketing ROI: Are You Missing Out on Low-Cost Leads?

Content Marketing ROI: Are You Missing Out on Low-Cost Leads?

Content Marketing ROI: Are You Missing Out on Low-Cost Leads?

Written By


Have you or your colleagues ever doubted content marketing and its ability to yield ROI through strategic search engine optimization (SEO)?

Or, perhaps you’re already a believer, as you’ve seen the data showing that SEO leads are 8.5 times as likely to convert than outbound advertising leads. However, you’re unsure which keywords will drive these results.

In either case, we have a solution: &Marketing’s Content Marketing ROI Calculator. With this tool, you can:

  • Predict the organic website traffic and conversions that your targeted keywords could generate in a content piece (based on the ranking you are aiming for)

  • Determine how much it would cost to achieve those same results via paid advertising 

Ultimately, this calculator will help you quantify the potential impact of your content, determine the keywords that will give you the most bang for your buck, as well as decide whether it would be more or less cost-effective to target those keywords via digital advertising instead. By marrying this data up with strong writing and a data-backed content promotion strategy, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that converts!

About the Authors

As a Marketing Director at &Marketing, Paul Ferguson uses his 16 years of B2B marketing experience to help clients develop fully integrated marketing solutions that make impressions and drive results. Whether it be design-oriented campaigns or digital market execution, Paul skillfully creates strategies backed by data, to effectively reach client’s desired audiences. Paul graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a double minor in Marketing and Business Administration. Visit Paul’s LinkedIn.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Is Your Nonprofit Organization Recession Ready? These 6 Things Will Help You Prepare

Is Your Nonprofit Organization Recession Ready? These 6 Things Will Help You Prepare

Is Your Nonprofit Organization Recession Ready? These 6 Things Will Help You Prepare

Written By


I was working in the nonprofit industry when the 2008 recession hit. If your nonprofit organization was like the ones I was working with, you probably didn’t feel the pain of that recession until 2009 or 2010. Nonprofits operate in a very cyclical nature — annual planning, giving cycles, recurring events, membership renewals, etc. — so by the time the economy started to recover, nonprofit organizations were still trying to understand what the true impact was going to be. All of the data indicates nonprofit organizations didn’t fare too terribly during that recession, because it was short by comparison. But at the time, difficult decisions and shifts in focus still had to be made.

When the economy is moving forward robustly, most leaders focus on growth and sales. But inevitably, when the economy slows and times get tough, that focus shifts. With so many people furloughed or laid-off during this time, they struggle to spend money in a way that keeps the economy moving in the right direction. 

Are we already in a recession? It depends on who you ask. Some economists liken it to a ‘medically induced coma’ while others say a global recession is imminent. Regardless of who you rely on for your economic outlook, history has proven that our economy has always expanded and retracted. As of December 2019, the U.S. economy has expanded for a record 126 straight months, the longest time period in the country’s history, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Put another way, the U.S. has avoided a recession for an entire calendar decade for the first time ever.

There’s no way to completely recession-proof your nonprofit organization but there are things you can do now to prepare for what’s to come. Whether the COVID-19 crisis drives the economy into the next recession or not, economists agree there will be another one, and it will be soon. Preparing for a recession takes work, but having those difficult conversations during a shrinking economy is much harder. Here are six things you can do today to be recession ready.

  1. Get back to the basics

    Return to your mission statement and prepare to focus your efforts on delivering on your core purpose. After all, it is what makes your nonprofit organization unique. In good times, many nonprofit organizations try new things, start new programs and services, and experiment with activities that may be nice to have, but not essential. When the economy contracts, focus on what is tried and true. Your stakeholders will be looking for value directly related to what they need.

    2. Stress test your budget

    Review your budget projections and start running scenarios in case you can’t host that one big event or you lose a major sponsorship or donor. Maybe your membership numbers will drop significantly because a particular industry has been hit hard by the recession. Many nonprofit organizations do not have diversified revenue streams, so one major hit to a program could be devastating. It is better to be prepared in that situation and see where you can cut expenses or increase revenue from other programs.

    3. Review and pivot your strategic plan 

    Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on their strategic plans, as they should. A lot of time and effort have gone into creating plans to help drive the organization forward. When economic downturns strike, leadership must act quickly but thoughtfully. In the face of uncertainty, it is not only okay, but prudent to pause on the activities outlined in the strategic plan. Your efforts can resume when the nonprofit organization is in a viable place, but not at all if you do nothing and lose too much ground by maintaining the status quo.

    4. Eliminate under-utilized programs and services

    Rather than making across-the-board cuts, prioritize core activities and focus on high ROI programs and services, but reduce expenses where possible. Take a look at all activities through a value and revenue lens to determine which should stay and which should go. You can reallocate some money saved to improve those high value core services and make them more profitable. I know it is hard to hear and even harder to do, but it’s okay to suspend and eliminate legacy programs that have outlived their usefulness and value.

    5. Fight the urge to cut marketing

    Typically, one of the first things considered as an easy elimination is marketing, but cutting marketing shouldn’t be the default reaction. Instead, during a time of economic downturn, you actually need more effective marketing to help you target with greater efficiency so that you are squeezing the most out of your marketing budget. It is a time to start marketing smarter and not harder. Smarter marketing efforts can help you drive more value and communicate the message more effectively at a time when it is critical to reach your audience. In times of uncertainty, your audience will be looking to you to provide value and guidance.

    6. Re-imagine your events

    Nonprofit organizations often rely heavily on events, whether for fundraising or trade association conferences and tradeshows. If we have learned anything from COVID-19, it is that things can change in an instant. Nonprofit organizations must begin to digitize their efforts. Maybe your nonprofit organization will return to in-person events as soon as stay-at-home orders are lifted, but you could be leaving money on the table by not incorporating some sort of digital component. Consider looking at how you can offer virtual experiences or hybrid experiences to draw in people that may not be willing to travel or want to stay involved and support your nonprofit organization, but can’t commit to an event.

    We’ve heard a recession is coming. We just don’t know when. The economy is on ice for the time being. Whether we’re just entering the recession or it is on the horizon, I encourage you to take these steps so you can weather the storm. Creating a contingency plan now is a lot easier than making decisions without data and under immense pressure. Once you have evaluated the possibilities, and you find yourself looking for help to recession-ready your nonprofit organization — sign up for a free initial marketing assessment (IMA) to get a no-commitment recommendation on what you can do to position your nonprofit organization for success.

About Amanda Cook

Marketing Director Amanda Cook helps clients develop sophisticated marketing strategies that drive brand leadership, increase sales and elevate the customer experience. With over 15 years of experience, Amanda has delivered successful campaigns with bootstrapped budgets to leading marketing organizations at $1B companies. Whether local or global, she enjoys the challenge of uncovering a client’s business objectives and helping them build a strategy to succeed.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

How Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Can Survive and Thrive in The Post-Coronavirus Environment

How Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Can Survive and Thrive in The Post-Coronavirus Environment

How Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Can Survive and Thrive in The Post-Coronavirus Environment

Written By



It goes without saying that businesses around the world have experienced unexpected and immediate disruption since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Remote work and video conferencing have boomed, business travel has taken a dramatic hit, and individuals and businesses – especially those considered essential – have aggressively pursued hygiene, as per the CDC’s guidelines. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) especially have faced intense pressure and uncertainty, as many have had to cease some or all operations.

As expected, many SMB leaders are focused on managing the challenges of the present moment: how to keep their employees and customers healthy and safe, and how to help their business make it out on the other side of this pandemic. The businesses that will sustain growth over the long-term, though, are the ones that are simultaneously planning for the future. When the quarantine ends, businesses open back up, and people return to their offices, life will be anything from “business as usual.” The coronavirus has caused discontinuities in business that may have long-lasting effects, which SMBs need to start considering and acting on now in order to create and sustain long-term growth. 

The purpose of this piece is to provide recommendations on how to formulate an action plan, with both immediate and long-term tactics, to help you position your business to be even stronger and more competitive in the weeks, months, and even years following this pandemic. It’s certainly a daunting time, but remember: many small businesses (perhaps even yours) survived the Great Recession against seemingly insurmountable odds; with the right tools and a thoughtful approach, you can survive this, too.

“It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”


Summary of Key Recommendations


  1. Liquidity will be critical for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to survive; the key to recovery, however, will be maintaining customer relationships with high priority customers who account for 80-90 percent of sales and margins. Most companies will have to cut costs – especially fixed costs – but they have to protect the base. Make sure you take advantage of any government loans or grants for which you are eligible.
  2. Companies must not only follow health and safety regulatory guidelines, but proactively communicate safety “as a differentiator” to employees and customers, making workplaces as safe as possible.
  3. Employees are anxious right now, so open communication and transparency is critical. Business leaders must communicate policies and expectations around the ‘new normal,’ including health and safety, office policies, social gatherings, and working from home. Employers should enable flexibility, understanding that employees have unique circumstances, and should keep morale up to reduce employee turnover.
  4. Continue to invest in marketing and sales. Communicate with customers and prospects through the transition to the “new normal” across multiple channels. You may need to update your team’s technology capabilities and skills.
  5. Several discontinuities have started to emerge and these will drive new products and services, new business models, and other innovations. Innovative companies who see these discontinuities as opportunities will adapt to change, transform themselves, and come out of this crisis even stronger. These discontinuities include:
    • Consumers now have a greater focus on health, cleanliness, and personal protection.
    • Employees want to enhance their remote work environment.

    • The online world is exploding for all types of businesses (both B2B and B2C) with online ordering, home delivery, home entertainment, virtual sales interactions, customer meetings, and events.

    • Unfortunately, some smaller competitors will go out of business, which will create partnership or M&A opportunities for the survivors.

    • Supply chains are being disrupted and may have to be rebuilt (especially those that are international). Domestic manufacturing and simpler supply chains may emerge.

    • Governments and multiple world forums will debate the steps to be taken, resulting in more opportunities.

  6. Post-recovery,  there is a reasonable probability that the coronavirus may return and last for several years. Leaders should plan accordingly:
    • Prioritize critical products and services, as well as critical functions. Protect the “things you do as well as or better than competition” and what made you successful in the first place.

    • Speak regularly to customers, suppliers, investors, lenders, partners and local officials to continually keep a pulse on the market. 

    • Learn how to be flexible and agile to meet the challenges that arise. There are simple frameworks on thinking about a business and prioritizing your efforts. Contingency planning with alternatives accounted for will enable a quick response to whatever may happen in the future.

    • Use the opportunities created to “Reinvent, Redesign and Regenerate your Businesses.”  

Part 1: Emerging Discontinuities Will Provide Opportunities

Before we dive into the short- and long-term tactics to pursue as you navigate the current and future impact of the coronavirus, it’s important to first address the discontinuities that are emerging and the opportunities they present.

Consumers have a heightened focus on health, cleanliness, and protection, and they’ll be willing to pay more to ensure this.

The effects that the coronavirus has had on how we operate our day-to-day lives will likely persist after this pandemic, since the virus could flare up again. This will impact our home life, work environments, and social settings, as well as the products and services we consume in those places. 

Consumers will continue to spend more time at home and will have a greater focus on improving their home environment.

Even when the government lifts stay-at-home orders and the economy dials back up, it will take time for consumers to readjust. A Harvard study showed that social distancing may be needed until 2022. More time at home will result in a greater focus on improving the home environment and activities like home delivery, home entertainment, Internet use, etc. 

Online transactions are exploding.

There has been a major uptick in online sales on Amazon and other online retailers and delivery services. Research shows this trend will likely continue when the pandemic ends. Customers – especially younger generations – will look for clean, easy-to-navigate websites. For B2B, companies will look for vendors who can seamlessly sell, invoice, and hold meetings online as remote work continues. Many companies will need to deepen their digital footprint, grow their online capabilities, and train up their employees.

How companies operate and conduct business is changing.

Even when this pandemic ends, many companies or individual employees may continue working from home depending on their circumstances. This will require certain technical capabilities to optimize work from home environments. Internal meetings – and even important B2B prospect meetings – may occur online. Teams will need to be proficient in Zoom, Slack, and other video/messenger apps. 

Supply chains are being disrupted. 

Smaller companies have shut down operations and over a third may not survive. Imports are stalling, especially from China. There is increased discussion on domestic manufacturing of “essential supplies.” According to McKinsey, “Actions taken now to mitigate impact on supply chains can also build resilience against future shocks.” It is necessary to granularly review bills of materials (BOMs) and catalog components and products needed by service companies, to identify what is at risk. Remember, when your business opens back up, some of your vendors may not. You will need to look for alternatives, some of which may require cash upfront.

Smaller competitors will continue to go out of business due to poor cash flow; this could result in new opportunities.

This is an unfortunate reality to face, and companies still in business will seize it as an opportunity to gain market share. Or, they’ll consider partnerships, mergers, or acquisitions. Even direct competitors may combine operations to stay in business. Types of relationships that would have been unfathomable in February of 2020 may become a reality a few short months later. These new relationships will not necessarily be a cash-only basis, but take many forms such as equity, commission only, or part cash/part stock part commission. 

These discontinuities can serve as the foundation of short- and long-term action plans for SMBs, as detailed below.

Part 2: Immediate Actions SMBs Should Take

“Small business owners can mitigate risk, protect employees and support customers.”


Aggressively pursue loans, grants and investments. 

Work with your bank and investors, but don’t forget other sources. Hedge funds, private equity firms and big investors have hundreds of billions of dollars sitting in reserve. However, anticipate that the cost of capital and availability of private loans may pose more challenges as a result of this global shift. 

Take health precautions seriously. 

Be obsessive about hygiene, health, and safety.

  • Ensure social distancing at the office, especially for those who are at the greatest risk for contracting the virus. 

  • Have masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and antibacterial wipes in your common area and near employee desks.

  • Follow the health and safety tips from the CDC.

  • Appoint a member of your team to help communicate these guidelines and ensure all individuals are following them.

  • Proactively communicate your health and safety measures to the general public (on your website, via email, and on social media). Consider doing ‘more than the minimum required’ as many customers and consumers will be weary, even if they don’t communicate it. 

Allow sick employees to stay home.

Previously – especially in the United States – there has been a ‘hero’ mentality about working while sick. This will likely change post-coronavirus, especially since many employees have found success working remotely.

Employers should clearly communicate that anyone with symptoms should work from home (no questions asked and no doctor’s note required). According to the CDC, employees should stay home until they are free of any symptoms or fever for at least 24 hours. If working from home is not an option for your business (i.e. food service), be sure to implement appropriate cleaning procedures at your business location. Be clear with employees regarding your coronavirus policies and safety protocol. 

Even if your employees are healthy, ask them to inform you if one of their family members is sick. You can refer to the CDC’s guidelines for appropriate risk assessment.

Enable remote work capabilities. 

Until we are far past this pandemic, offer employees the option to continue working from home if they wish to (and require it for those who are not feeling well, as mentioned above). This pandemic may have a long-term impact for many people, so be mindful of different circumstances and understand employees may need more flexibility than in the past. Whether your entire team is still working remotely or just a few of them, here are recommendations on how to optimize their remote work environment: 

  • Allow employees to expense materials/items that will enable efficiency and productivity (office supplies, a second monitor, etc)

  • Implement a policy that outlines when you expect your team to be online and available when working remotely, and standardize the preferred method of communication (email, Slack, Zoom, etc.). Be sure to still allow flexibility, depending on individual needs and circumstances. 

  • Ensure that all weekly/regular in-person meetings remain on the calendar as video meetings if your team is not in the office. This will be necessary to ensure deadlines are still met.

  • Instruct employees to redirect calls to their office line to their cell phones.

  • Schedule a weekly team gathering via Zoom to boost morale. 

Give employees more flexibility in general. 

When offices, schools, daycares, businesses, and other commercial settings reopen, it won’t all happen at once. Employees may have unique circumstances (care for family members, nontraditional family needs, etc), which will require flexibility with their time and how they operate. Try to be as understanding as possible when something comes up and have a contingency plan in case you suddenly become short-staffed.

Reduce meetings and travel. 

Minimize opportunities for exposure to the virus. Postpone team meetings or hold them virtually. Skip non-essential conferences or other business travel. If your workers get sick because of business travel or meetings, you could have a liability issue on your hands, in addition to managing low morale and increased sick leave requests.

Do realistic accounting. 

Most businesses are suffering and need to make hard decisions. Try to form realistic estimates of your cash flow both during and after the pandemic. Compare this with your fixed expenses and determine what you can cut. Sometimes, it makes sense to cut the more flexible expenses early while you continue paying the more vital expenses. 

Additionally, identify expenses that you can delay, such as rent (if eviction has been frozen), leverage public assistance and other ways of bridging the gap, and consider cutting office space if you can. 

Stay informed on updates in your area. 

We don’t yet know the full impact of the coronavirus in the United States, but the CDC has said that your risk varies based on your location. Therefore, each state, or even metro-area/county, will continue making decisions based on unique circumstances. Stay in frequent contact with state and local officials for updated guidance and policy recommendations affecting your community. 

Communicate with your employees. 

Even when your business resumes full operations and employees return to the office, it’s likely that employees will continue to have concerns about their health, their family’s health, and their job security. Listen to their concerns. Keep them informed on the state of your business and update them on any policy changes (in-person if you’re in the office, via email, your Intranet if you have one, or even a recorded video message to add a personal touch). Honest, frequent communication will help mitigate fear, prevent the spread of misinformation, and boost morale (your employees may also be able to help identify gaps in your coronavirus plan and make improvements). Importantly, always communicate with empathy. 

Be smarter about your marketing. 

Now is not the time to cancel your marketing, whether you’re a big company or a small company (or somewhere in between). Customer interactions with your brand and business transactions will continue to occur virtually. Therefore, without digital marketing, you’ll lose the most important part of your business: the customer relationship. Pivot your marketing strategy from overt lead generation tactics to providing value to prospects and customers during this difficult time and fostering community. 

  • Communicate with your customers. If all or part of your business closed down due to the coronavirus, ensure your customers know when you’ve opened back up, and make them aware of the precautions you’re taking to protect them and your workers. Be more proactive about communicating your health and safety policies online and in-person.

  • Ensure your website is easy to use. Stay responsive via chatbots, email, and phone numbers.  For B2B especially, enable interactivity, information-gathering, and invoice capabilities on your website. For B2C, make purchases, returns, and access to customer service as easy as possible for customers. 

  • Continue to create content for your audience that brings them value and resonates with their pain points during this difficult time (i.e. blogs, white papers, infographics, etc). House this content in one place on your website.

  • Use email marketing to keep customers up-to-date on your business, distribute content, and maintain connections with current and prospective customers. Consider these dos and don’ts when communicating with them.

  • Optimize your website for SEO, because organic search rankings will be even more important as consumers rely heavily on the Internet to find what they need. More on how to analyze your SEO: “Keep Calm & Market On: 3 Marketing Tactics to Do During a Crisis.” 

Adjust your selling strategy to accommodate remote work and social distancing. 

  • Prioritize virtual contact with current and potential customers, and make sure they’re aware that even if your store is closed, you’re still available to service them. For B2B companies, consider account-based marketing, where you build relationships with multiple individuals at specific organizations. 

  • Maximize the use of LinkedIn as a relationship building and selling tool. With over 260 million monthly active users, it has become the platform for value-added thought leadership. Sales teams that previously relied on in-person interactions will need to be retrained on virtual relationship-building.

Part 3: Long-Term Priorities SMBs Should Consider

“While models and predictions abound, no one can say with certainty what the course of the virus will be, much less the impact the pandemic will have on people and societies.”


Prioritize critical operations. 

Long after the quarantine ends and companies open back up, it won’t be “business as usual,” especially for SMBs. A MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business survey indicated that nearly half of small businesses (46 percent) believe it will take the U.S. economy six months to a year to return to “normal.” Prioritizing and protecting critical operations and processes will be necessary to keep your business moving. Here are suggested ways to do this:

  1. Develop a plan on how to meet key business functions in the event that critical staff members are unable to work.
  2. Cross-train multiple employees so that multiple people know how to perform key functions.
  3. Be prepared to make adjustments as you go, such as using alternative suppliers or putting certain operations on hold.
  4. If you operate in multiple locations, give local managers the authority to make operations decisions based on the circumstances in their area.
  5. Protect your core competences (the things that made you successful in the first place and areas where you are as good as or better than competitors). These could include technical capabilities, trade secrets, key employees, and/or exceptional business processes.
  6. Have a plan in place for how you’ll prioritize your biggest customers (those who make up 80-90 percent of your business.)

Protect your supply chain and consider other vendors if needed.

SmallBizTrends reported that 30 percent of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain. Speak to your suppliers, investors, partners, and local officials regularly to learn how you can begin implementing safeguards that will help you stay above the red until some level of stability returns.

 Also recognize that when your business reopens, the vendors in your supply chain may not. You may need to find new vendors, some of whom may require cash-on-delivery. It can take time and effort to build a new supply chain.

Continue to enhance your online presence.

  • Build a content strategy. Determine the topics for which you want to be a known thought leader, and develop a calendar to help you develop regular content (blogs, eBooks, infographics, videos, employee profiles, etc). Promote this content through email, social media, and industry-related publications.

  • Use email and social media as a way to create an online community and a sense of belonging for your customers, and ultimately increase the number of people talking about you and your brand.

  • Create a customer portal to enhance customer engagement and create a safe space for users to connect, support one another, and ask questions.

  • Shift your budget from in-person conferences to virtual events (i.e. webinars).

Innovate: rethink your business approach as customer needs continue to change 

Your long-term viability depends on understanding (and even predicting) how your customers’ needs will change. Most of their lives are different today, and will likely be different again in six months. People are building new habits, some of which will persist. There will be more take-out, more online selling, different forms of entertainment, a new emphasis on hygiene, etc. Talk to your customers – perhaps through a survey – to better understand them.

Based on these changes, how might your business model need to change? Can you modify your offering to accommodate new customer needs? Focus on your existing customers by proactively showing support, providing excellent service, and maintaining relationships. Also, consider new ways to deliver your service or product (think home delivery, mail, or virtual web-based services). As you think about this, it’s helpful to break your business down into three parts (see graphic below). Remember that these should build on your core competences: “the things you do as well as or better than competition,” and what made you successful in the first place.

Expect that new partnerships will emerge. 

Smaller businesses in a similar industry (even competitors) who are feeling pressure may partner or merge. This may not necessarily require large cash outlays. Consider combining operations to:

  • Improve your efficiency

  • Grow your customer list

  • Add to your supply chain

  • Give you access to more geographies


Ultimately, there is no universal, one-size-fits-all solution for small and medium-sized businesses during and after this crisis. The plan you implement and the actions you take should account for your company’s unique circumstances and idiosyncrasies. However, we’re confident that what we’ve outlined here can serve as a valuable guide as you continue to navigate this difficult time. 

Are you wondering how you can personalize and prioritize these immediate and long-term actions for your business? We’re here to help and have the resources and expertise to provide counsel on the full picture of your business. Please contact us here

If you’re looking specifically for more guidance on how to pivot your marketing strategy to build and sustain long-term growth when this pandemic ends, contact us for an initial marketing analysis. We will conduct an unbiased assessment of your current marketing tactics – including SEO, web, content, and social media – and determine how we’d recommend you proceed post-coronavirus. 

We wish you, your team, and your business good health!

About the Author

As the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing, Rajat “Raj” Kapur strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings nearly two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

About &Marketing

In today’s fast paced world, many growing businesses are struggling to modernize their marketing approaches because either they don’t have the expertise or the bandwidth to do it themselves.

&Marketing provides seasoned marketing strategy professionals and a nimble execution team to help our clients achieve their goals. Our unique partnership model allows us to augment our client’s existing teams or outsource the entire marketing function in an affordable, flexible, and transparent way.

Looking Under the Hood: Why Marketing Transparency is Key to Small Business Growth

Looking Under the Hood: Why Marketing Transparency is Key to Small Business Growth

Looking Under the Hood: Why Marketing Transparency is Key to Small Business Growth

Written By


During this unprecedented time, almost every business is evaluating their recurring expenses and trying to determine what is truly essential and bringing them value, and what is a luxury that can be trimmed down or removed from the equation. For small business owners, just understanding the ins and outs of marketing in order to make some of these decisions can feel like a daunting task. When it comes to small business solutions that can help you market on a budget, &Marketing was built for this. Our goal is to demystify the process and help small businesses understand their marketing efforts and help them spend their budget like it’s our own.

Just last week a small auto shop owner came to us. In light of the current state of world events, his business volume was down and is anticipated to stay that way for some time. He went to his current marketing provider to ask about turning off his Google Ads to save some money but was told to leave the costly ads running as is, because turning them off would be a too drastic and risky measure that would decrease his business even more. We offered to take a complimentary look “under the hood” of the auto shop’s Google Ads and see what was really happening with his spend and conversions.

What We Found Under the Hood of His Google Ad Spend

Our digital advertising specialists examined the setup of the ads, the keywords being targeted, and the current performance to get a complete look at how many customers were being driven to his website by the ads. Using our Business Intelligence & Analytics tools, we could show him with concrete data that those Google Ads were not producing the results he thought they were. Because marketing can feel so inherently mystical to lots of small business owners, he had never been given any actual reporting before on his ad performance. He just assumed (rightfully so) they were working for him the way they were supposed to.

The good news is, we showed the auto shop owner that his current paid ads weren’t actually bringing any customers through the door, so he could save all that money going forward. The bad news is, he had no idea those ads weren’t performing and had been wasting his hard-earned money all this time.

The Benefits of Marketing Transparency Now and Later

If he hadn’t taken the opportunity to check out what was under the hood with his marketing spending, our auto shop owner may have continued spending that money for years instead of getting the information he needed to understand where his marketing dollars are going and learning where to send those dollars when marketing on a budget.

Should he invest in Google Ads in the future? Absolutely, but he should do so by spending much less money, with a different setup, and with more transparency and better monitoring. We gave him some tips that he can implement himself right now that would cost little to no money:

  • Create some content using the keywords he wants to target so he can spend less money on Google Ads and start ranking organically.
  • Post and engage more frequently on social media.
  • Send regular email updates to his current email list of contacts.
  • Run a few geographically focused Facebook ads — always a worthwhile experiment for a local B2C business that costs less than Google Ads.

As an outsourced marketing department, most of us can’t look at a car engine and be able to diagnose a problem, because we don’t have the expertise. Similarly, this growing business owner couldn’t examine his own marketing tactic and diagnose whether or not it was providing ROI. Just like his auto shop would be able to quickly tell us we had a bad radiator, we were able to identify his ineffective Google Ads campaign and recommend some more budget-friendly options.

We were able to stop the ads that weren’t producing any results and advise him to put a fraction of that budget to work on hyper local Facebook Ads, increasing his social media presence through organic posting and set up an email campaign.

Growing businesses deserve the same level of expertise and execution as the big guys, they just need a version that meets their needs (and budget) where they are. If you aren’t sure if your marketing is working FOR you and think you need an expert to look under the hood, let’s talk! &Marketing offers a complimentary Initial Marketing Analysis (IMA) that can give you valuable information about your digital presence.

About the Author:

Client Experience Director Tina DePrisco leads the strategic direction of internal processes and deliverables. By focusing on standards and quality as well as the alignment of cross-functional teams, she ensures the superior delivery of &Marketing’s services. She also serves as a Marketing Manager on client projects to stay abreast of marketing trends and client needs.

About &Marketing:

In today’s fast paced world, many growing businesses are struggling to modernize their marketing approaches because either they don’t have the expertise or the bandwidth to do it themselves.

&Marketing provides seasoned marketing strategy professionals and a nimble execution team to help our clients achieve their goals. Our unique partnership model allows us to augment our client’s existing teams or outsource the entire marketing function in an affordable, flexible, and transparent way.