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Action Bias: Why You Don’t Always Need to Do Something in Marketing


When something bad is happening, it’s human nature to want to do something about it. Often, taking action can solve the problem. At times, though, doing nothing can be the best move. This is referred to as “action bias.”

I wrote about this a while ago on my blog as it related to various governmental legislation (where they “did something” to fix a situation, only to make it worse), but it applies to digital marketing as well.

We’ve recently had a few potential clients who couldn’t afford our services, so they chose a less expensive option. That’s not necessarily a bad move, but it was a waste of money in these cases.

Rather than investing in taking their website and marketing to the next level, they went with a more affordable option that didn’t do much for them. In both cases, the clients got a new website that was essentially the same as their old one, which accomplished little and wasn’t a good use of their money.

When to Spend More Money on Marketing

Many companies come to GreenMellen because they want to improve their digital marketing. We work through improving their messaging, improving their positioning in search results, and ensure users have the best experience possible on their site.

The result is a vast improvement in their marketing, which translates into more leads and more sales. However, this also requires a financial investment to do properly. After all, doing website design poorly or too quickly can cost you customers and revenue.

If you want to take your marketing up a notch, your budget also needs to go up a notch.

When You Can Afford to Spend Less

That said, there are cases when finding a less expensive alternative is a good solution. If you’re a new company, simply getting a decent website is a great place to start. New companies tend to have less money to invest in their marketing, so taking things slowly makes perfect sense.

That’s why GreenMellen offers launchpad websites for smaller or newer companies looking to get a basic website built sooner. This is a good place to start, but it’s not a suitable replacement for an existing, robust website.

We frequently refer companies to other marketing agencies that can build them a simple website to get things started economically and efficiently. It’s not a great long-term solution, but it can be a fantastic place to start for the right business.

When You Should Spend Nothing

There is also the case when you should spend nothing additional on digital marketing.

In these cases, you’d ideally increase your marketing budget to improve things, but that’s not always possible. Rather than spending less on a new website to save money, I encourage companies in this group to spend nothing on a new site.

If your current website is acceptable, then “saving” money when building a new website will lead to having a different site that is no different than what you have. Even if it was a great bargain, it’s still money that shouldn’t have been spent.

If you’re looking at your business and you feel like you need to “do something”, you might be correct, but sometimes doing nothing is the best short-term strategy that you can have.

Still Not Sure What To Spend on Marketing?

This isn’t always an easy distinction to make. How can you tell which category you fall into? If you’re not best served by investing in a new website, perhaps you’d be best spending that money on something else in digital marketing. But what?

The answer is different for each business and situation. So the best approach is to talk with a marketing agency about your specific context. Our team would be happy to have a conversation and explore the right solutions for your organization.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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