Discover the Right Marketing Mix for Your Budget
It doesn’t matter whether your company is an established brand with a stellar marketing team or a brand-new business testing the waters of trending marketing channels; determining where to invest your hard-earned money takes preparation.
With 2016 halfway over, now is the ideal time to formulate a marketing mix for 2017 that delivers results but doesn’t leave you penniless.
Develop a game plan
As with any business decision, jumping in blindly is cause for disappointment. How many times have you heard a story of achievement without research, practice and preparation being involved? While we wish everything were that easy, making the right call on where to spend your marketing budget is tricky.
Before making further budgetary decisions, first classify what type of business you run and its annual income. “Young enterprises, one to five years old, should be aggressive with their marketing tactics. Though these companies are often less profitable than older, more established firms, they rely much more heavily on brand reputation and recognition,” writes Steve Olenski on Forbes.
With so many areas of a new business needing money to get off the ground, marketing tends to slide down the priority list. However, this is the opposite of what is needed. If there were ever a time to be aggressive, this is it. On the other hand, “Older enterprises that have five or more years under their belts have likely already succeeded in establishing brand awareness and cultivating a profitable customer base,” Olenski said. This isn’t saying these companies are in the clear, but their lineup of platforms and how much they spend will differ from less-established businesses.
The next step of strategy development is goal-setting. Many people fail to realize the power of giving themselves something to work toward. A ship has no direction without a captain and destination.
To set worthwhile goals, start by reviewing last year’s data to determine what delivered the best reach and which channels failed to produce desired results. Maybe social media really drove it home two years ago but completely missed the mark last year. This is not to say social media won’t work this time around, but consider lowering the percentage of budget given to it or improving upon your strategy. Use the data collected to decide what amount of money is fair to allocate to each channel.
Speaking of using information to your advantage, if you aren’t taking time to study industry trends, you may as well consider your “marketing strategy” a bust. This is especially true if you haven’t paid any mind to marketing tactics your competitors are using. You think Coca-Cola turns a blind eye to what Pepsi is up to? Never.
Looking beyond traditional options
The foundation of a marketing budget is in place, but here’s where it gets tricky – what specific channels do you want to go with and how much time and money should go to each? There’s no easy answer to this, and experimentation is part of the process.
The channels used should be tailored to match the budget and goals of the company. For instance, younger businesses can benefit from cost-efficient social media. Maximize efforts by combining content marketing along with social media to increase reach. According to a survey of small-business owners, “Fifty-eight percent of small-business owners are using social media in their marketing, but less than half are creating any other kind of content to help them get leads and sales.”
Content is increasingly being shared by the popular use of video and live streaming, blog posts or webinars. Videos can be used for product launches, live events and more. Looking to go the social video route? Try Periscope, an app that creates an interactive experience by letting users live stream video.
Another noteworthy trend is focusing on the customer journey. Long gone are the days of in-your-face-advertising with no mind to building a relationship with individual customers. By taking a longer approach to building trust and relationships with consumers, marketers increase engagement and retention. How can your business adapt this model? Think content, social and PPC.
Mark Organ, founder and CEO of Influitive, told Marketing Dive about how companies can better connect with their customers. “Brands will need to do more ‘one-to-one’ marketing. Doing so requires taking ownership for the customer journey and automating the sum of the buyer’s experiences and personal engagements,” he said.
With the knowledge of industry and marketing trends, this year’s budget meeting doesn’t have to be something you dread because of cost, but an opportunity to make informed decisions by selecting a suitable marketing mix that’s best for the company and your customers.