All marketers wish they had more money for their programs. But as a recent CMO Survey Report points out, marketing budgets rarely exceed more than 10% of a company’s revenue. With only so much money to go around, marketers constantly face the challenge of doing more with less. With that, here are three ways to squeeze more out of your marketing budget.
1. Use data for decision-making.
Marketing is no longer the exclusive territory of creative, right-brain types. We now have a wealth of rich data and immediate feedback that can tell us what’s working and what’s not. Per a Spencer Stuart survey of 171 U.S.-based marketing executives, 54% believe that big data and analytics will be essential to their marketing strategy over the long-term. It’s time to flex those left-brain muscles and get your hands dirty with data to determine which marketing tactics are worth your time and money.
There are many ways to use data to improve your marketing program. Data can help you understand your customers and how they perceive your products, and it can help determine which areas of your marketing efforts are having the biggest impact. A recent study by DataMeer found customer analytics dominates how marketers are using big data. 48% of marketers use data to understand how to get new customers, reduce customer churn, increase revenue per customer, and improve existing products to meet customer needs.
Now you may be thinking, big data analytics sounds expensive. I don’t have the money for that. Well, the good news is there are several free sources of data. Utilize the native analytics tools on platforms such as WordPress and Facebook, as well as free web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, to answer questions such as:
- Which pages on your website get the most search traffic? Maybe you should spend more money redesigning those pages to optimize click-throughs to product pages.
- Which social media platforms get the most engagement? Maybe you should spend less time crafting posts for all available social channels and focus efforts on one or two.
- Which display ads get the most clicks? Maybe you should cut the worst performers, and spend that money on the top performers.
2. Partner with like-minded businesses.
Brands and retailers are natural allies. But as MaxPoint states, “they don’t always collaborate as such in the digital space.” It’s time for some mutual back-scratching.
Before you pay for more clicks on a display ad or sponsor more tweets, do a little research on your partners’ and retailers’ online footprints. Chances are, they are looking for creative, unique ways to stretch their marketing budgets as well. Consider ways your marketing efforts can help them achieve their marketing goals too. Try regularly @mentioning their social handles, retweeting their content, or featuring their blog posts in your social feeds. This investment can result in returned favors, gaining you access to their marketing properties and exposure to their digital followers.
For example, paleo-skincare product retailer, FATCO, routinely schedules shout-outs to partner brands and retailers in their social media editorial calendar. They kicked off a “Brands We Love” blog series that reviews products that are complementary to their own paleo-friendly offering.
What started out as simple @mentions on social media turned into full-fledged marketing partnerships. When FATCO and like-minded brand Gold Nugget Ghee were featured in a podcast together on the benefits of drinking cow fat and smearing it on your skin, both brands expanded their reach and digital presence without paying a dime in paid followers.
3. Create compelling content, for customers and by customers
Try some “inbound” marketing techniques, which bring people to your site versus you pushing information to them. Sure, it takes time to create good content, and it often doesn’t show instant results; however, content marketing tactics build a strong, steady stream of search and referral traffic that can pay off in the long run.
Once you’ve made an initial investment into a great content asset, you can always get more mileage by repurposing and reusing on a variety of marketing channels. For example, if you create a blog post, you can interview the author for a video, and use the blog and video in emails, social media, ads, etc.
You can take this concept one step further by looking to your most powerful marketers out there to co-author and create content: your happy satisfied customers. McKinsey states word-of-mouth marketing is the primary factor behind 20-50 percent of all purchasing decisions. Why spend most of your time, money, and effort talking about your products when your customers can do it for you? And can do it better, no less!
Start by making it easy for your fans to sing your praises online. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Once you capture some quality comments, it’s time to reward the authors and amplify their stories. You can use their reviews in other pieces of marketing collateral like social media posts.
In a Nutshell
By building quality relationships with your advocates, you can build an inexpensive marketing machine where your current customers help you get new ones.
Want to discover ways to capture your best customer reviews and stories? Check out http://www.reviewmarketing.com/ to see how companies can easily automate the collection of product reviews and publish those reviews on retailer websites.
By leveraging data, partnerships and customers, you can quickly begin to improve the ROI of your marketing budget and accomplish your goals.