The economy has slowed and for many companies shrinking revenue means much smaller marketing budgets. Shrinking marketing budgets can shrink results as well so what is the savvy marketer to do when looking for more results with drastically smaller budgets? They recycle.
Five ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle:
- Don’t throw out advertising too early – Redefine “worn out”. Extend the schedules on which you would normally rotate your creative. This turbulent economic climate leaves your customers and prospects seeking familiarity and stability. When you find the effectiveness of your current creative waning, evolve what you have by introducing a new element rather than going completely back to the drawing board. For example, a sticker can take care of a change of address on a brochure. And when you do new things, plan with longer life and “refreshability” in mind.
- Do something with that old bridesmaid’s dress you’re keeping – Reuse favorite advertising campaigns and direct mail pieces that worked well in the past. Sure, a few things will have changed over the three years or so since you last ran an ad but editing is always less expensive than creating a new piece. A few updated touches will create something new from something that might be old to you but thanks to audience turnover and poor long-term viewer retention, plenty of people will be enjoying for the first time. For those that remember it, showing an old campaign can be a way to demonstrate that you are stable and give them a feeling of security. Many large traditional brands have begun getting back to their roots and re-airing old campaigns for that reason alone.
- Look in the trash pile – If you hired an ad agency for a project, chances are that they provided you with multiple concepts for earlier projects. Perhaps you can make use of one of the alternatives. There may be a charge to finish the piece, but it’s usually less expensive than starting over.
- Car pool – See if anyone in your organization has unused seats. Many organizations are siloed, especially around the area of technology. Your IT department may have implemented a tool for Operations that might have marketing capabilities which are going unused. A good example of a tool like this is Microsoft’s SharePoint. While your organization might be using it for internal collaboration, it is also an excellent tool to make external websites, secure micro-sites, promotional pages, and even to manage an electronic prospect dialogue strategy.
- Switch to electric power – Marketers are still struggling to find ROI from broad use of the newest social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter but one thing is clear already. The cost of reaching an audience using these tools is extremely low. While they are not yet (and may never be) ready to carry the weight of a large portion of your marketing strategy this is a perfect time to replace some of the poorest performing media channels you pay for and add some inexpensive social media to your mix.
All of these ideas will be much more effective when used by a company with a well developed brand identity, and if yours doesn’t, there is no better time to focus on building your brand and taking bold brand actions.