But I Saved Us Money
Despite all the glorious advancements in our society, some things never change. One of the biggest? You get what you pay for. This includes everything from clothes, cars, house repairs, to the quality of your food and dining experience at your favorite restaurants. Oh, yes – and marketing plans, branding and communications campaigns.
One of the most common mistakes made by businesses is beginning a marketing project or campaign focused solely on trying to save money instead of asking what will help achieve the goals and initiatives you have set.
Finances will always be a factor but trying to be a hero or make a good impression by pinching pennies should not be the main motivation behind your marketing approach, or it is destined to fail. When a marketing communications campaign is planned and executed well, it’s rare you will ever be asked how much you spent.
The key is to understand why you’re developing a new initiative in the first place, and work with an agency that fully understands your goals and how to reach them.
Has Saving Money Ever Worked?
Besides the fact that champagne taste on a beer budget never (ever) happens, here are a few common scenarios why prioritizing savings over the right plan won’t work.
- Unclear objectives: Objectives are the only way to measure the success of your marketing efforts. Not identifying what your objectives is setting you up for failure from the very start. A lot of firms create a preliminary plan internally, then ‘read off’ what needs to be done to their marketing agency seeing them as order takers and not strategic partners. A big part of your agency’s role is to use their expertise and experience to make recommendations for how to achieve your goals and objectives. So be sure to get them involved early, before you finalize your marketing plan.
- We’re in a recession: The past recession has skewed our perception of cost and value. During the economic downturn, budgets were slashed and employees who saved their firm money were lauded as heroes by the leadership. Even though these efforts may have rescued many jobs, they also created a collective tendency to put saving money above all else. Instead of cutting your budget, don’t be afraid to ask your agency to see how they can maximize your spend by leveraging their experience and industry contacts.
- I have a friend: Your friend told you all about her company’s new marketing project, they hired so-and-so and they spent x amount. So, you say to yourself, ‘self… we want to do basically the same thing, so I’ll budget what she spent.” Not so fast! There are several factors that affect a budget... like current market conditions, past branding efforts, timeline, strategic goals, calls to actions and a continuation plan. All of these, and more, will cause significant fluctuations in budgeting to achieve your objective. It’s good to have friends that can share their experiences, but an agency and create a targeted budget that not only you can work with and build on for the future.
Develop What You Really Need
Leverage your agency’s expertise and resources to craft a targeted plan that fits your specific needs and goals. When working with your agency, be sure to:
- Sharing is caring: A marketing department should always work with a budget, which needs to be crafted with the intention of helping your business meet their goals and objectives. The question is, why do marketing folks guard their budgets like a secret family recipe? Keeping silent isn’t doing you or your business any favors. Agencies truly don’t know how they can help you unless they’re given at least a ballpark figure. If you don’t have a budget, or don’t know what a certain project or campaign would cost, just ask. BBy working with a budget, your agency can help you manage expectations. Remember, agencies want to help you reach your goals, even though the solution may not exactly what you expected.
- Ask for help: You hired an agency that has a proven track record, so let them do what you hired them to do. A good agency will never step in front of you, but work with you, allowing the spot light to shine on your achievements. Doesn’t it feel good to take one more thing off your plate?
- Measurable results: For marketing to work, it is necessary to understand your business goals. Without goals, it’s impossible to set objectives. ‘Get more business’ or ‘make more money’ aren’t measurable marketing objectives. To create an effective marketing plan, focus on concise objectives. The only way to measure the success of your marketing efforts is to stop focusing on ROI and focus on ROO (Return On Objectives). Precise goals will not only give you actionable results, but will let you know where your budget is most affective.
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