December 22, 2013

Top tips for marketing on a shoestring

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Tight budgets and reduced teams can prove a real challenge to professional services marketers tasked with delivering the same or better results as before. However a review of current activities against the firm’s objectives can help you refocus your efforts to ensure the desired results are achieved or exceeded. In this blog, V Formation’s Sue Carr gives some top tips on meeting the challenge of limited resources.

Increasingly marketers that we speak with are faced with reduced budgets and smaller teams, whilst trying to deliver increased profile, more new business and increased client retention.

Having been in that position a few times ourselves, the challenge is to be smart and creative with the reduced resources available. Whilst a daunting prospect, it is still possible to have effective marketing plans that deliver and exceed objectives set by the senior management. By following these top tips, professional services marketers can turn this challenge into an exciting opportunity:

  1. One of the first steps to take is a review of your current marketing and business development initiatives, carefully assessing the return on investment against the marketing and business objectives set for the firm.
  2. A substantial proportion of many professional practices’ marketing budgets is spent on unfocused corporate entertainment. It is often a ‘protected’ element of the budget that lacks focus and joined-up thinking. Insist on a clear strategy for entertaining that strikes the appropriate balance of client relationship management (with the right clients), entertaining of key and active referrers and intermediaries and reaching a mix of targeted prospects. By aligning the corporate entertainment budget more firmly to the firm’s objectives, it can help to secure relationships and win more business.
  3. Ensure that any sponsorship spend is part of a focused and targeted strategy and in line with the objectives of the firm. There is far more to a sponsorship deal than a logo and branding and it’s important to build close relationships with the supplier to ensure that you can extract maximum value from your spend. And review your sponsorship deals year on year to check that they are still relevant and delivering a return on investment.
  4. PR can have excellent results if embraced properly as an integrated element of the marketing plan. With a wide range of channels available to communicate news, updates and messages, PR can be one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.
  5. Keep direct marketing focused and the target audience tight. Avoid the scattergun approach to keep costs down improve the response rate. Use digital channels and social media effectively as part of your marketing programme. And most importantly, ensure campaigns are followed up to maximise success.
  6. Regularly review your suppliers as this can help you earn considerable savings.

If you find yourself faced with the challenge of reduced resources, the key is to remain focused and keep your marketing efforts aligned to the firm’s objectives. Through careful planning and creative tweaking of the marketing plan to ensure you use existing channels effectively as well as embracing new channels – it really can be possible to do more with less!

For help with tackling the challenge of limited resources contact V Formation’s Sue Carr or call 0115 822 6364. Follow Sue on Twitter.

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