When the economy is in flux or revenue is down, many companies are tempted to have a knee-jerk reaction and start cutting expenditures. Marketing, in particular, is often one area that’s attacked first, whereas essentials like payroll, rent, and product production are usually the last to be touched. Many business leaders would argue, though, that a downturn in sales or other negative financial situations are actually the best time to ramp up strategic marketing. However, you view the debate, here are some tips for managing the marketing budget and cost-saving ideas for companies when it’s scary to spend.
Audit & Attribute
Uber’s CEO recently said the company is going to cut down on costs, including marketing, and treat hiring as a privilege. If you’re feeling like your company needs to act similarly, take a moment and pause before making any major decisions. First, audit your past marketing performance and attribute your successes to specific marketing approaches.
For example, what were your biggest areas of spending? Maybe you invested heavily in direct mail campaigns, which were far more expensive than your search ads but yielded significantly fewer conversions. Compare and contrast, with the ultimate goal of figuring out which tactics have been most effective indirectly impacting sales.
Choose To Fuel Sales
There are numerous strategies in marketing, like boosting brand awareness or account-based marketing. But in times where you need to slash spending, zero in on the approaches that will make the biggest difference to your near-term operations.
Remember the old “how did you hear about us?” question, and revive it if you don’t currently use it. Simply asking customers where they found you can lend a lot of insight into which of your tactics are actually getting folks into your funnel (and therefore worth the investment).
Then, choose marketing tactics that have proven to be most successful in leading to actual sales. This might be paid social campaigns, display ads, or content marketing. If they have a high rate of conversion, keep them for now. Everything else? Reduce or cut it. You can always add in important strategies like brand awareness again later, but now is the time to invest primarily in what will drive sales to get you through this cash flow crunch.
Once you rework your approaches, consider how you can allocate and tighten up your budget. Maybe there are a couple of software subscriptions you can get rid of or different ways you can reassign team members to different projects in order to better maximize their time.
You may also want to limit meetings, so your staff has more time to focus on the actual output of work (e.g. selling). Or, you might begin using a hub-and-spoke model for content, repurposing larger pieces of content for smaller items like blogs, ads, and so forth to save time and costs.
There are absolutely ways you can adjust your marketing budget in order to make ends meet right now if you follow these tips. Less can be more, and it can be what’s needed to get from where you are to a future point in time when spending is no longer scary. Interested in having an experienced partner take some of these tasks off your plate? We’d love to help!