Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: Need to Cut Costs? Part 1

Need to Cut Costs? Part 1

For some reason marketing is always an attractive place for businesses to cut costs. I put the blame partially, or maybe even entirely, on us as owners of marketing for not making the link between marketing and business objectives more obvious.

For some reason, many marketers hate to measure their efforts. Maybe they see it as a measure of their success or failure instead of the success or failure of the tactic. But, if you don’t measure your marketing metrics that have a direct link on the success of the business, qualified opportunities for example, you’re always going to be at risk when it comes time to “streamline the business.”

O.K. enough admonishing everyone to measure, measure, measure. You are probably already familiar with my passion for metrics anyway. Let’s say it’s too late and you’ve been asked to cut back. Where do you start?

In this first segment I will focus on ideas that can be implemented no matter where you are in the corporate structure. These ideas may help you trim the fat out of your programs without sacrificing performance. In the next segment, I’ll focus on ideas that are designed more for the manager and senior manager level.

Go Electronic
Direct mailings through the U.S. postal service must still work in some sectors because I am still receiving them. It’s been years since I looked at one. If you are still doing “snail mail” direct mail, please measure you’re return on these. The cost of a physical mailer is significantly more than the cost of an html mailing.

Are you still printing out expensive brochures so you can hand them out to barely interested prospects? At any given trade show you can burn through hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in printed collateral and not see an ounce of return. Why not save the money on brochures and buy memory sticks with your logo on them to hand out to interested prospects. These memory sticks can be preloaded with all of your relevant materials. And, they will be saved far longer than your expensive four color brochure.

Establish an Identity
One marketer I know was recreating every campaign piece and every piece of sales material from scratch. As she put it, “Isn’t creative supposed to be creative?”

This is just bad branding. If you want to build awareness for your identity you need to reuse it. Even if one brand crosses multiple target markets, you can still reuse the same basic templates. Obviously, some of the messaging changes and you might change some graphics, but this is a lot easier and a lot less expensive than starting from scratch.

Measure Everything
Did I mention this already? You need to know which campaigns and tactics are providing the greatest return so you know which ones to keep and which ones to cut. This will be vital information to have if you need to defend any of these investments to management.

Consider Sacrificing the Sacred Cows
Are there things you do just because you’ve always done them? For example, I see many companies attend trade shows year after year, although the best result they can show is that they had “lots of good conversations with prospects” – but no sales. Attendance is justified year after year because they feel they are building awareness. There are a lot less expensive ways to build awareness.

If trade shows participation can be directly linked to sales, by all means, keep it on your marketing mix. But, don’t do these things just because it’s been part of the mix for years. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

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