It’s that time of year again when many businesses are reviewing their budgets, and with uncertainty over the economic outlook, it’s inevitable that businesses will be looking to minimise expenditure.
When times are tough, marketing is the function which gets hit hardest, with many business leaders viewing marketing as an unnecessary expenditure and even a ‘luxury’ or vanity exercise. These ideas couldn’t be farther from the truth, and in 2018 it is more vital than ever to ensure investment in your organisation’s marketing.
Only recently, Charles Corner, the MD of the York-based manufacturing business, Malton Laser went on record in the Yorkshire Post to urge businesses not to cut back on marketing spend during economic uncertainty.
Having had his £3m turnover business go into administration during the last recession, he has built it back up again through the effective use of marketing, so he’s definitely in a position to speak from experience.
Why invest in marketing?
Through the strategic use of marketing, a business can build on brand awareness, grow their customer base and instil loyalty. It enables you to position your business in front of your target audience and sets you apart from your competition.
Involving your marketing department, whether in-house or outsourced, in your business planning will enable them to understand your business objectives and in turn, this will give them (and you) the necessary insight to identify how marketing will help you achieve them.
Make a plan… and stick to it!
With the marketing department fully clued up, they will be able to draft a strategy for the year ahead and the additional budget required to deliver that strategy. Of course, you should challenge these budget suggestions to ensure you are going to achieve the best possible outcome.
It’s important to bear in mind that marketing isn’t an overnight success, it takes time, and it’s well documented that consumers need multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. In the case of B2B that can be much longer, so it is essential that 3, 6, 12 months from now that you are still at the forefront of your audience’s minds.
It’s tempting to give up just a few months in when results might be slow to show but ongoing measurement is key to identifying your return on investment.
Setting realistic KPIs at the offset and regularly reviewing them will enable you to understand if you are spending money in the right areas and the response you are receiving. If the results are showing a particular activity is working well then great – carry on. If not, identify what the issue is and how you can mitigate that to get the best ROI.
They main thing to consider though is how you are going to measure the success of the activity. If you measure PR activity for example solely by the number of press coverage you achieve versus the quality of that coverage and other measurable such as spikes in website traffic, increased enquiries etc. then you need to question why you are undertaking this activity.
Make 2018 your best year yet
If you would like to discover how to make 2018 the best year yet for your business, then email us or give us a call on 01484 637980.