6 Ways to Retool Your Marketing Budget

We’ve been talking about marketing budgets of late.  Seems to be a top of mind concern which is not surprising.  There are ways to be smart with your budget moving into the spring.  And those who are patient will have the last laugh because finally, you have the chance to be really noticed, because many of the bigger companies are reducing their footprint in the message world.  For example, online search ads are seeing the effects of shrinking budgets both domestically and internationally.

…Search budgets contracted 1.4% in the first quarter compared with the previous three months.  Covario noted that the drop was mainly because of big cutbacks internationally. Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw search spending fall 15.9% quarter-to-quarter. However, Asia and the Pacific Rim continued to experience search strength, with a 7.4% spending increase in the first quarter.  Spending in the Americas was essentially flat, up just 0.8%.

In a recent interview series for a client, I had the priveledge of speaking with talented marketing folks across the automation industry to discuss trade shows.  After a few conversations, they all resonated around the same chime.  Times are tough.  Everything is being watched.   How do marketers do what we know how to do without looking like our spending is frivoulous or unnecessary?  Every program and project is under the microscope.  So we wanted to share a few ways you can retool your budget for the rest of the year.

1.  Shift your more of your print budget to online.  While we would not say cut all print without knowing your specific market conditions and business, it is safe to say that putting more in the online portion of the budget is a safe move.  For one, online ads are much better to track and measure, but they are less expensive. And if the research from the article above is true, then your ad program will have less competing factors as everyone finds ways to draw back cash.

2.  Beef up the PR side of your program.  PR is a highly cost-effective way to build your brand’s awareness, and can help fuel other activities for greater impact. Put together a monthly press release program (for those who are not doing this already :-)).  Most of our clients have heard us talk about this important component in your PR plans.  Put yourself out there, find ways to stay in front of your market.   And if  you find a customer or two who are willing to talk about your product or service then you are golden!  Use that as a building point in generating high quality visibility, drive web traffic, and more.

3.  Expand your audience reach.  Look, getting buyers to move quicker in this economy may be a futile and irritating endeavor.  So, let’s work on the top part of the funnel, and expand your audience reach.  How to do that?  There are several ways to do this.

  • PR will also help you do this in addition to what was described above
  • E-newsletters with good educational, value-packed content will help encourage sharing, forwarding
  • Explore social media channels and how they can play a role in your marketing.
  • Search engine optimization for natural search will also help your business get more eyeballs looking at your web site, landing pages, white papers, and more.  There could be some simple things tweaked on your web site that can boost your search engine results.

4.  Rethink your trade show schedule.  Trade shows are huge investment both financially and in time.  Evaluate your investments this year so far.  How was attendance? Up or down?  Trade shows often represent the highest portion of spend for a marketing budget.  And it’s usually offers a line in the sand for product managers, engineers and others when launching new products.  But not every show is equal.  There are some shows you just have to be at.  We understand that, but we are hearing that more vertical shows that have higher focus are producing better value.  Also, keep an eye out at the shows you are at this participating at this year, and see if any big names pull out.  That is always telling and may influence your renewal in 2010.

5.  Eliminate as much print as possible and put it all online.  PDFs are an easy way to download and share information.  You get the added benefit of more content on the web site.  Many companies can get away with all electronic brochureware and don’t really need a fancy printed piece  In times like these, do what you can to minimize paper and print waste.  Even from the eyes of a consumer it matters.

6.  Explore free tools available in Web 2.0.  This is a hotbed for innovation and creativity.   Now’s the time to experiment and begin to understand how social media and web 2.o intersects with marketing.  And it’s free.  For now.

One Comment

  1. […] in 2010.  This is a welcome relief for many of us, compared to the last time we blogged about marketing budgets.   In a recent Mediapost article that highlighted a poll by ANA, it seems that the worst of budget […]

Leave a Reply