There are many things in our lives that roll over:
- Your dog Buddy
- Your 401k when you switch jobs
- Unused cellular data (wait, you don’t have unlimited data?)
One thing, however, that won’t roll over is your unused marketing budget. Hours upon hours are spent each year planning a marketing budget. Discussions turn to negotiations and – after a while – you have your final budget.
Somehow, here we are in Q4 and you haven’t spent your marketing budget.
“Great, my company will view that as savings. I did a good job!” a naive employee says. True, you may have “saved” the company a few thousand dollars (hopefully not more), but did you really?
Those dollars were specifically allocated to your marketing department. The same marketing department that is responsible for bringing in qualified leads that turn into valuable sales for the company. That money could’ve been spent on finding new leads.
In short, by not spending your marketing dollars, you could end up costing your company sales.
Even worse? Your budget is going to be less the following year. Why would upper management and ownership give you the same or more budget if you didn’t spend it? So now, you’re at an even greater disadvantage for 2020. Not the best start to the year…
Ways You Can Reach Your Marketing Budget
Don’t panic. There are plenty of ways you can spend your unused marketing dollars.
According to Reuters, Americans spent more than $707 BILLION on holiday shopping last year. That number is only expected to increase in 2019. By the way, that only accounts for November and December. Consumers are spending money. You just need to be in front of them when it matters most.
Be sure to keep your business goals in mind before selecting an end-of-year marketing push. While you do want to reach your budget, it’s silly to blindly throw money at any old tactic. Some proven examples include:
As the holidays come around, more and more people take off from work. That gives them more time to be with their family shop online! More than 60% of consumers preferred to do their holiday shopping online rather than visit over-packed stores and malls. Digital Commerce 360 tells us that more than 80% of consumers planned to spend at least a quarter of their holiday budget online.
Depending on your goals, there are some different strategies you can implement to capture your target audience.
Let’s start with Google – the world’s largest search engine. Google Ads allows you to serve ads that are extremely relevant to users who are searching for the products you offer. Be creative with your ads and give people an incentive to click through to your website. Don’t just go through the motions with your Google Ads campaigns – this will lead to limited clicks and limited sales.
YouTube is perfect to drive awareness and brand recognition. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine (behind Google, obviously). Users upload and watch millions of hours’ worth of videos every day! YouTube allows you to be very granular when it comes to targeting. This ensures your target customers are seeing your video, which keeps your brand and products on the top of their minds.
Remember all those people taking time off for the holidays? They’ll be mindlessly scrolling through their phones to pass the time. Much of that time will be spent on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more. Rather than throw money at every single platform, decide which outlet your target audience uses most. Create relevant, thought-provoking ads that will get potential buyers to stop scrolling and start buying.
Invest and/or Re-invest
This strategy is overlooked far too often. Rather than calling unused budget “savings,” companies should look to invest in themselves. No, not in the stock market, but invest in other ways to improve the company.
Is your website outdated? It’s time for an upgrade! Spend some money on a new mobile site or app. Buy that premium plugin to speed up your site. Go ahead and purchase that new social widget!
Is your marketing department overwhelmed? It may be time to hire! Put some dollars toward that highly coveted applicant who is asking for a higher salary. Or, hire a part-time intern to help with smaller tasks so your experts can focus on the important projects.
How about some new equipment or software you’ve been dying for? That high-definition camera will allow your team to capture amazing images and videos. New SEO software will help bring more leads to your website.
Your company will always need updated marketing material. Why not create a new product brochure? Maybe a direct mail piece? Don’t forget about signage, table covers, and other branded materials for trade shows and other events.
Speaking of events, you now have some money to send employees to an industry training session, seminar, or workshop. Investing in your employees and giving them a chance to grow professionally will increase their workplace satisfaction, which is proven to increase production.
Notice how I saved this one for last? I get it. Nobody wants to offer discounted products. Nobody wants to lower their profit margins.
But, would you rather sell 100 products at 85% price or 50 products at 100% price? Glad I have your attention now…
End-of-year specials have been around forever, and they won’t be going away any time soon. Why? Because they work!
Aside from promoting discounted products, there are other tactics that have driven results. Does your company offer a yearly membership of any kind – like a golf course, bowling alley, shopping club, etc.? Run a special that gets consumers to sign up for 2020 and they’ll get the rest of 2019 free. You may be giving them a few free weeks, but they could turn into a lifetime customer who purchases the membership annually moving forward.
Need help meeting your end-of-year marketing budget? Contact us at Jay! We’ll help you not only reach your budget goals, but also your sales goals. Moving forward, this won’t happen again as we help our partners create integrated marketing plans with short-term and long-term goals.