Welcome to our new blog series focusing on keeping the marketing show on the road despite budget cuts.
In this series we’re taking you through topics like driving marketing ROI, reducing marketing wastage, low-cost marketing tactics, reviewing the cost implications of in-house resource versus outsourcing and getting the most from your agency support. In this blog, we’re focusing on how to reduce wasted marketing spend with six tips to make the most of your marketing budgets.
Leading industry source, IPA, confirmed that by March a quarter of brands had already slashed their marketing budgets as a result of COVID, so whilst cuts are inevitable in periods of economic uncertainty, what can marketers do to keep their impact and activity up?
There’s good news here, reports also show that up to a quarter of marketing spend is wasted each year, so what if we could reduce spending without reducing the impact or even activity?
Here are our top tips for reducing the wastage in your marketing spend:
Most brands are marketing to an audience segment that has, for whatever reasons, disengaged long ago, their click-through and engagement rates show that they’re simply not tuning into your marketing. This is a great time to ditch the poor performers, it might feel like it’s only data and that this doesn’t save any real costs but ultimately carrying around an oversized database costs, in the long run, shrinking to only those who are tuned into your brand will help you raise the bar on performance and be more effective.
Since the growth of the multi-channel approach many marketers’ attention has been stretched over an average of nine channels, this is a great time to step back and take a look at the best performing channels to decide where the real impact is being made. It may be time to lose a social platform or finally cancel a directory subscription or sponsorship. Again, it may feel like reducing the number of social channels you operate in saves very little budget but creating content, scheduling and reporting activity all takes time, lowers the bar of the performance you accept and distracts you from better-performing activity so, get brutal, if a channel isn’t performing, switch it off or put it on pause.
While new activity is on pause, this is a great time to optimise existing activity, you may be surprised if you review what is already online for your brand, take a closer look and find those out of date links, broken URLs, 404 errors and out of date messaging, all these dead ends reduce the impact of your existing hard work, so make it work harder by making sure you’re happy with it.
If reduced budgets have led to a scaled-back team, you’ll be looking for ways to reduce the workload, so consider whether you can automate any labour-intensive activities. Again, it may feel like this hardly reduces your spend, but without having to focus on planning and deploying things like new customer journey emails, you can focus on driving the effectiveness of other activity, with email automation you can make sure your emails arrive at just the right trigger point.
Most marketers have gathered a wealth of systems over the last decade, from core ones like HubSpot and Salesforce to social listening and scheduling tools, however, most would agree that once the initial novelty factor had worn off and they’d got to grips with the basics they didn’t investigate how to optimise the use of some of them. Limiting most systems for their core functionality means there could be opportunities to optimise. Carry out a systems review of all the software licences you have, are you paying for systems you no longer use, are you paying for licences for people who have left the team, is there an overlap of system functionality, could you reduce and simplify the systems you use?
The results you get from your agencies are only as good as the brief you give them, and their time is your money so the harder you make it for them to support you the more it costs somewhere along the line. Making it easier for them to perform will make it cheaper or more effective, consider:
Reducing marketing wastage isn’t always about cutting activity, it’s also a time to be clear on what’s working ‘v’ what’s not. It may sound cliché, but less is more in this climate so don’t be afraid to reduce the noise whilst making it work harder for its return.
In our next blog we’re looking specifically at how to get more from your agency, in the meantime, if you need help reviewing the performance of your channels or reflecting on your overall communications strategy performance don’t be shy, talk to us. Something Big is an expert in creative communications, with channel experts from email and social to print and video.