Maximising the Marketing Communications Budget

Probably the hardest task that every senior marketing manager regularly faces is planning to maximise budget efficiency. Nowhere is this more challenging than when deciding on where to spend the marketing communications budget.

The exponential growth of new media covers every aspect of life from the second your (digital of course) radio alarm goes off in the morning through all the traditional offline media you’re exposed to over the course of the day. Once we go online and explore the huge demands on the budget related to email marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, web design and a plethora of other online marketing opportunities, the budget dilemma seems to become impossible. Various studies indicate the average person living in a developed country is exposed to anywhere between 3000 and 7000 differing advertising messages per day. If you’re targeting that person, then how do you choose the one or two messages that are going to grab their attention and generate the right response? Even for highly experienced marketers these are not easy decisions. Some will claim to take a highly scientific approach but in this article we will treat the budgeting exercise as a combination of art and science.

The answers can be found in a few key areas: The size of your brand and business, the nature of your target market, the relative size of your competitors, the level of experience you have gained from previous marketing activity and your personal predisposition to believe in a particular approach. I’ve packaged that into

Ten golden rules for planning an integrated advertising campaign:

1 Repetition builds awareness builds response

Don’t spread your budget too thin. It’s better to repeat your message three or four times to the same person in the same media than to spread your message to a wider audience that may only see it once or twice

2 Online marketing is fashionable but that doesn’t make it right for your business

If you know you can build your business by increasing your web visits then online expenditure makes sense. But if your business model is not dependent on your website be careful about throwing all your money online

3 The smaller your budget the more benefit Public Relations can provide

Public Relations takes time and effort but the results can be amazing and the monthly fee often equates to just one advertisement

4 The bigger your business the more important brand building

As a massive generalisation, small businesses need to focus on building response and every penny they spend on marketing is looking for a short-term return. In the long run it’s the budgets that invest in brand building that win but there’s no point in worrying about that when your budget is small.

5 Direct Mail and e-shots are the starting point for most small businesses

You can directly compare costs with return.

6 No more than 50% of your budget online

OK that’s not really a golden rule as some businesses can prosper never appearing outside the virtual world. But it’s rare to find a target market that is not responsive to offline communications and on average over 50% of ‘commercial’ web visits are driven by traditional media.

7 Information Is Power

Quite simply the more you understand your target market and their media consumption the better you can plan campaigns that connect with them. Also if something has worked before it will probably work again, but not in quite the same way. So learn from your successes as well as your mistakes.

8 Don’t swim with the big fish

If you’re a small fish then swim upstream or downstream of the big ones Taken from Adam Morgan’s book ‘Eating the Big Fish’ this rule simply says that challenger brands need to do things differently to the competition

9 Sponsorship is for laughs

If you have many millions of pounds or dollars to spend then sponsor a premiership football club. If your budget is smaller avoid spending too much money on simple brand awareness and make sure your brand values, unique selling points and call to action are built into your marketing communications

10 Integrated communications are impressive

Even better than repeating your message to one person in the same medium is getting that message across to that person through different marketing communications. A direct mail piece, an e-shot, a press ad combined with a PR article come together to make your budget look much bigger than it is

Finally, there’s an 11th rule too! If you can’t afford it then that rules it out. It seems obvious but a lot of highly experienced marketers make the mistake of wanting to try media they perceive to be prestigious such as National TV that soak up more than 50% of their budget and leave a lot of the more hard working, cost effective, demand driving media unaffordable.

To summarise, it’s art and science coming together, there are no definite right answers but there are a lot of obviously bad ones. If in doubt get an integrated marketing agencyto help you decide. Specialist agencies will always try to get as much of your budget as they can. An integrated agency might want almost your entire budget but it will work with you to maximise its effectiveness!

Choose Better Internet Marketing Services for Better Profits

Marketing over the internet needs constant updating about business events, evaluation of marketed products, and regular interaction with customers. Today internet marketing services have become a quintessential part of online marketing. Even though most companies do know that such services play an important role in the development of their company, they are still unaware about how to get in touch with them, or what are the services which these companies provide. Most of them are still in the dark as to what are the uses of these agencies, except that they are employed to turn a visitor of their website to a potential customer.

So, the basic step is to know what internet marketing services are and what services they provide. Calculate what information you want to put on your website, how interestingly it can be put on the website, in an easy and understanding manner for the average person. While it is a fact that marketing services are important for your business, it is equally important not to be nonchalant while choosing an internet marketing company. There are companies that promise fancy service options to woo you into signing a deal with them. Hence, people need to be cautious and need to select just the right company for your online business to run smoothly.

A website which talks loads about your business needs to concentrate on the particular product. It should provide keywords that are relevant to the product and must keep updating so that browsers follow it on a daily basis. Since search engines are looking for keywords, it is absolutely necessary to project relevant keywords. However, you must constantly keep a check on this and make sure that the particular service provider is not stuffing your website with keywords. This will make your website awkward and dry. Subsequently, make your website interesting, so that customers keep coming back to it.

Business marketing with the help of social networking websites is the norm of twentieth century. While choosing internet marketing services make sure that the company which you select enables you to keep in touch with your customers through social networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace. The interesting aspect with social networking is that it helps with quick access to the public. It is the best form of word-of-mouth publicity which your product can get. It is a kind of add-on which enables you to market your product even without moving away from your desk.

Select from a list of internet marketing services and choose one which suits best for your website. Always remember to choose a service which helps you to keep in touch with your customers and provides interesting free stuff for them. Ask your service provider to provide newsletters for this purpose. These are effective ways to promote your product without much effort. The main purpose of a newsletter is to build a relationship between you and the customer over a period of time.

What Should Internet Marketing Services Include?

Along with your decision to put up a business, you must have thought of what marketing strategy you are going to use in order to make it sell and grow over time. Although the traditional way of marketing a business has been proven to be very effective in the recent years, businessmen these days have decided to move on to a more innovative way of marketing their business which is through the use of the internet. They believe that this newer business marketing strategy is able to give them a lot better results than the traditional ones which make use of the television, radio and newspapers. Most businessmen create their own website to effectively market their business over the internet. However, internet marketing is not solely about having a website. There are a lot of things that effective internet marketing services should include.

Creating a website is just the first and most basic things that internet marketing services should have. Next to that is their SEO strategy or what is known as the search engine optimization strategy. With this strategy, reliable internet marketing services include your business website on the search engine results in order for it to get found by your potential customers who research about your products and services using the large search engine sites that the internet have today like Yahoo, Bing and Google.

Internet marketing services should also include Social Media Marketing. This marketing strategy takes advantage of the free social media networking sites which are being used by a lot of people these days to communicate with their friends from all over the world. By using this as a marketing strategy you allow your business to be noticed by millions of people from all over the world in just a few click or a few seconds.

Another very effective marketing strategy that internet marketing services should include is email marketing which make use of your potential customers’ email to directly get in touch with them. This is done by sending them informative educational and convincing reading materials usually when they subscribe to your website. Our potential customers inevitably have quite a lot of questions about our products and services before they do business with us. They feel important when they see that we address every important question they have. Email marketing would allow us to address their questions and eventually move them into doing business with us.

Online video content marketing is also a very important marketing strategy that internet marketing services should include. Perhaps you have already heard and seen YouTube and how often it gets visited by a lot of online users. This is because whether we admit it or not, there are still a lot of people who are never satisfied with just written contents. They would like to see things before they decide to purchase. It would definitely be a good idea to show your potential customers your products and services through videos from free online video streaming sites to effectively market them.

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