8 Ways to Reduce Your Marketing Budget
Companies are investing in brand capital at an incredible rate – sales, marketing, and PR payrolls have doubled between 2005 – 2019. But we all know that throwing dollars at something doesn’t mean you will generate the results you want, and if that’s what everyone else is doing, how will you separate your business from the pack? The answer is leverage. If you can find ways to leverage the tools, team, and budget at your disposal, you can lower your marketing budget while still yielding better results.
Review Your Spending
The first step in lowering and leveraging your marketing budget is finance 101. Just like you want to comb through and fine-tune your personal budget, reviewing your marketing budget will show you the value of every dollar you are investing, but most importantly, you want your budget to be able to shift rapidly. The ability to redirect funding quickly – without adding more expenses – can certainly be challenging, and you’ll also want to keep in mind that reviewing your budget every week isn’t necessary. Included in the rest of this list are some different ways to cut costs and keep things flexible.
Combine Your Tools
Odds are you have a multi-channel marketing strategy. You are working across social media, web, and physical platforms. This can be time-consuming, redundant, and bloat your marketing budget. Finding omnichannel solutions means you are integrating your customer experience across platforms. Simplify your process for your customers, whether they are engaging with you through the web, an app, or in a physical space. Making customer engagement a singular experience simplifies your branding and your engagement. The other benefit? This can reduce your overhead by streamlining campaigns, tracking, and how you utilize your team – cutting out some of the budget bloat.
Take Advantage of Free Tools
Who doesn’t like free? There are a number of high-quality and free marketing tools, CRMs, and design applications that can meet most of your basic needs, especially when you are smaller or up-and-coming. Here are some great examples:
- Airtable – There is a free and a paid version, but depending on your needs, you can have a highly productive and coordinated cloud-based CRM, Marketing/Content Calendar, and project management tool that integrates with nearly every other software out there.
- Canva – Need to create a flyer, newsletter, or ad spot on a budget? Canva offers high-quality design options that are easy to use and free of charge.
- Google Docs & Drive – Google has the best free document software out there. Whether you need to type up a contract, create a simple spreadsheet, or design a presentation, they have the apps for you… and free cloud-based storage to boot.
- Mailchimp – This is one of the best multi-channel email marketing services available. Even better, under a certain threshold, it’s free.
Outsource to Freelancers
One of the biggest costs in your marketing budget is probably personnel. Staff can be an essential part of your team, but if you don’t staff wisely, you will end up paying fringe benefits and taxes (not chump change) for skill sets you might only need on a project-to-project basis. Working with specialists, freelancers, or an agency on a per-project basis is a great way to reduce overhead and leverage your marketing budget.
Create Mutually Beneficial Partnerships
Influencer marketing is an effective strategy for building vital connections with your desired clientele. A simple way to leverage this is to offer free products, meeting space, or services for content promotion – you can think beyond social media influencers, too. Look for strategic partnerships with other companies that might benefit from furthering or deepening a relationship with your brand. But be careful with where you set your boundaries – this can quickly turn into an all-the-time expectation without anything in return for you. So, be clear on what you are offering and what expectations are for both parties. And be willing to politely say “no” when the time comes.
Gear Towards Outcomes, Not Outputs
One of the traps you want to avoid in marketing is work for the sake of work. It’s easy to get caught on the hamster wheel of outputs (the steps you are taking to connect with customers) and feel like you are getting something done, but if your team’s actions are not leading to results/outcomes, the objective was missed. Make sure your outcomes are tied to a measurable result that connects you to customers – this can help you cut outputs that are ineffective before you sink too much into them.
Avoid High-Cost Acquisitions
Connecting with customers takes time, effort, and money, but not all acquisitions are created equally. If you don’t already, you should track the net-total cost (not just the cost of the medium and tools, but of your personnel and contractors as well) of each client acquisition to better understand your ROI on different marketing campaigns, strategies, and mediums. Set a watermark you don’t want to pass, and you will know when to cut a campaign short or reinvest in what is effective.
Look for Discounts
A simple way to reduce your budget is to look at your subscription services and change billing from monthly to annual. Not all, but most, will have a built-in discount. Some commonly used companies include:
- Microsoft 365 – You can receive a discount by setting up an annual commitment (you still pay monthly but are under contract for a year) or through an annual subscription.
- AWS – They offer a variety of different up-front and subscription-based discounts to meet your needs.
- Ask – Most companies, from SalesForce to Wix, have options to customize a contract for a price that best fits your needs.