In these uncertain times, you as a marketer can get the message that your budget is being cut. If your company is not doing well, how do you manage your marketing budgets smartly?
This article is there to give marketers who are going to get heavier advice to get through in the near future. Hopefully after this article you will have more guidance and you will manage your marketing budgets more efficiently. However, these are advices. They are not “fixed rules”.
Always keep thinking carefully whether it applies to you or not.
That a hard time is coming for us to prepare for is not 'doom thinking', it is an educational opportunity to think even more critically and better about what we are going to invest our time and money in.
I give you 7 advice for your marketing budgets with which you can prepare in the near future.
1. Find out which marketing channels work best
This advice makes sense. Does it often happen in practice? No. If you are having a harder time, it is useful to first see where you can still make a profit. This can be done by squeezing everything out of the marketing channels that work best.
The channel that works best for you: how often can you say “yes” to the following?
- I am 95% sure that I have reached the entire target group
- I have reached the tipping point from profitability to breakdown
- In the past 3 months, I had an outside expert look at optimizations
- In the past 30 days I have tested new texts, formats and, for example, pages
When it comes to paid advertising running, ask yourself:
- I've been creating new ads in the past two weeks
- I have tried all ad formats
- I tested a new landing page in the past 30 days
If you answered a question with “no”, it is useful to consider whether you can get more out of the marketing channel. Often there are 1 to 2 channels that really make a company big. The trick is to find that one marketing channel and to keep investing in it.
Don't be afraid to be ambitious
The economy still needs growth. Don't be afraid to be ambitious and use more marketing or promotion. As long as you don't use the corona virus emphatically in your marketing (unless you have a legitimate reason and are in a related industry).
If you do this, I recommend that you check from day to day how the situation turns out. In uncertain times, if you don't look at your ads for a few weeks, you suddenly see completely different results. Both positive and negative.
2. Stay on the ball & watch everything from day to day
Monitor what happens to your campaigns on a daily basis. This prevents unexpected results. Are you a manager, ask for a small daily update of the figures. Be especially prepared to run campaigns if the results are suddenly disappointing.
Also go a step further than waiting when the results come in. Normally I would say “Get out of the building!”, But I don't think that is appropriate now.
What I want to say: contact your customers (digitally). How do they see the future? Are they going to reconsider your product? How indispensable are you or is your product actually for the customer? Remember that you are not the only one with marketing budgets, but your product / service also comes from the budget of your customers.
Think in advance if you can easily be replaced. If you know what your customers are going to do in this situation, you will be a little better prepared in the coming period.
Cross-selling and upselling
Another form of things that work is your current customer base. This is not a budget issue, but something that you can give more breathing space through a higher short-term cash flow. Now that you've been in touch with them about their plans, you can find out if they're using your product in the best way. Do they need additional services? Can you help them today by providing stability or unburdening them?
Now you know if you can cross-sell and up-sell. If you're facing tough times, ask for referrals and word of mouth. Customers do not just leave, they want and can contribute to your success and continuity with innovative ideas.
3. Go for short-term ROI
For a company, cash is just like oxygen. How long does it take per marketing channel before you get your investment back? If your Google Ads spend is ROI positive within 1 week, you can reinvest it quickly. If your YouTube leads take 3 months to become customers, you are likely to be more at risk. For example, if a crisis suddenly hits next month and everyone is going to cut back, your YouTube leads are more likely to no longer become customers.
Brand awareness campaigns are often difficult to measure and take longer to pay for themselves. Your entire awareness budget should not immediately go away. Do you feel insecure about the merits of this? Maybe there is a way to find out the ROI through a survey, investigation or new tool. It may be worth trying to stop certain campaigns and see the effect on your visitor numbers or sales.
Be careful not to cut things down.
Don't forget to be empathetic about how people feel, the affected families, health risks and all people who work from home (with children). They all have a reason not to respond to your marketing message.
You don't have to suddenly disappear from the radar. During this time you have the opportunity to show your authentic, helpful side and help people. We can offer people certainty, compensation or relief for a helping hand.
Invest in content
Many people are at home. They no longer go out for dinner or have a drink in the evening. They also no longer have to travel to work. We suddenly have more time. More time to do things that have been on their to-do list for a long time. In addition, with the unstable coming months, companies may also try again and measure with their marketing budgets.
Both companies and consumers can reconsider options and do more research into new (necessary in this situation) solutions. You can respond to this by investing in educational content. Because if you want to intervene, show that your content is up-to-date and goes deeply into the playing problems of your customers.
Besides the fact that consumers and companies are rethinking things, we also just do research and consume content because we are so much at home. This can be done via SEO (customers looking for solutions) and push marketing (proactively responding to your customer's problems).
5. See what your competition is doing
If many companies just pause campaigns out of panic, consider how you will react to them. There is one on almost all ad platforms real-time bidding system that works with a fixed amount of advertising space. Now that people stay behind their computers at home, there are more people who can be shown advertisements.
If your competition stops the ads, there is more supply (advertising space) and less demand for advertising space (companies that turn off advertisements). And prices drop to show ads. Bingo.
Besides lower prices, you are not competing with the message of your competitor. If your competition stops the ads, there may also be a legitimate reason behind it – such as less revenue from the ads. Keep this in mind.
6. Negotiate & try to find each other
Are you entering into new negotiations, new contracts or new partnerships? If you have a lot of uncertainty in the coming period, indicate that. This way the other party can understand you. There are several written books and taught courses that almost everything is negotiable. Give it a try.
Especially when it comes to services, you often have a lot of room for negotiation. Have services more often higher profit margins and / or subjective prices.
You have nothing to lose by proposing a new, lower price or better conditions. The coming period of uncertainty is always a good argument, unless you abuse it and take advantage of this period. In many cases, with an extension of a contract, you give the other party continuity in turnover.
Try to find and understand each other in this situation and don't abuse your position.
7. You can experiment, but ask the right questions
If you are going to invest in what works, it is useful to also be more critical with what has not yet proven itself. For example, all experiments and / or new channels in which your budget ends.
If you have ambitions and want to continue testing, for example testing new marketing channels, this is certainly possible. Just ask yourself: if I now put € 3,000 in this experiment and the experiment fails … Is this because of the corona crisis, or not?
If you know in advance that this will throw a spanner in the works, I do not recommend doing it. Then you will not learn from the experiment. While after the COVID-19 situation you can learn from the experiment.
When times are hard for your company, ask yourself this second question when conducting an experiment: if I now put € 3,000 in this experiment and the experiment fails … Can I justify that I have this uncertain choice made to my colleagues / boss / staff?
Difficult times and decisions can come. Take into account how long you can survive without income.
Draw your own conclusions for your marketing budgets
These are 7 considerations for your marketing budgets that I hope will help you. Of course, not everything applies to everyone. Look at it, think about it and draw your own conclusions. Not sure if this advice applies to you? Do you have doubts about what to do today? Let us know in the comments.