When purse strings are tightening, a company’s marketing budget is often the first thing to get cut. Marketing accounts for around 13.6% of the spend at an average organization, and is viewed as a non-essential cost in times of crisis — but the issue remains that if you can’t get the word out about what you’re selling, you won’t be closing very many sales.
So, is there another option? We say yes — you need to make your marketing budget stretch further. In the digital age, there are more ways than ever before to waste costs, but also to trim them. Here, we’ll outline three top tips that could boost the return on investment (ROI) you take from your marketing strategies.
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1. Reduce your SaaS spend
If you’re looking to free up some cash, one of your largest cost-saving opportunities lies in your software as a service (SaaS) portfolio. Now, this might leave you scratching your head — surely software expenses come under your IT budget? But this isn’t always the case. Nowadays, the average business deploys 110 different digital tools to fulfill their needs, and your marketing department may be procuring software subscriptions for everything from project collaboration to email marketing.
And while marketing software can be helpful, there may also be a high degree of overlap between the functionality offered by different applications in your stack. For example, if you or another member of your team have subscriptions to both the HubSpot CRM and Klaviyo automation platforms, your email marketing could be handled by just one of these tools. This saves you the outlay spent on a subscription to both.
If you work across a wide, multi-disciplinary team, your SaaS stack could be hiding many cost-saving opportunities. So, to start saving, your best course of action is to assess and document your software contracts. SaaS management platform Vertice explains that this allows you “to make informed decisions about future software purchases and renewals, as well as eliminate any shadow IT eating into your budget.” It also identifies opportunities to consolidate, replace or cancel duplicate or redundant tools, as well as clear out any unused licenses.
2. Build a complementary strategy
Whether you’re a scaleup enjoying successful funding rounds or your business has yet to leave the building, it pays to craft a marketing strategy using techniques that play well together. Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that multi-channel is everything — but have you optimized your strategy for the greatest collective payoff?
Let’s unpack this idea a little. Take your content marketing strategy, for example — if you’re creating digital articles and videos to promote your brand, are you embedding these efforts into your social media and SEO campaigns too? Each of your website’s blog posts or YouTube videos can be optimized for search engines to drive greater engagement from your target audience, and ultimately, higher rates of conversion.
And even if you’re in the process of adapting your strategy, Search Engine Journal explains that you can revisit older material and refresh it for current market trends, for example, by updating your sources or keywords. When you build a complementary strategy, you can spend the same amount of money and secure a greater ROI.
3. Leverage partnerships
There’s a school of thought that says you have to do everything in-house to get the most bang for your buck, particularly when you’re starting out. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Collaborating with experts and delegating your work can actually provide a better long-term ROI and help you to manage your time more effectively.
Consider your social media marketing, for example. You might have noticed the emerging trend of ‘corporate TikToks’, characterized by unenthused members of staff being used as stooges for content creation. The rationale behind it adds up — as younger consumers engage well with short-form video content. However, if nobody in your office is jumping at the chance to go viral with their dance moves, or throw on a giant owl costume, you’re best off partnering up with a dedicated social media guru.
It could hugely bolster your ROI to partner with influencers in your niche rather than taking on everything yourself and producing non-impactful content.
Ultimately, if your head of finance is talking about trimming your marketing budget, there are always alternative solutions. By experimenting and adjusting where you’re spending your money, you can ensure that it goes further to bring new business to the company.