Simon Says

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Marketing Dollar

the importance of a sound marketing strategy

A man sitting at a desk with two monitors.

Your grocery bill isn’t the only thing that hasn’t yet returned to its pre-pandemic level. Neither, unfortunately, have marketing budgets.

Back in the “glory days” of 2016, marketing spend comprised about 12% of company revenue.1 Seven years later, marketing budgets have shrunk to just 9%.2 Yet at the same time, digital ad costs are soaring, marketing teams are shrinking, and marketing leaders have sat through more than their fair share of “do more with less” pep talks.

With all this stress, it’s no wonder that 66% of marketing leaders report burnout.3 But before the stress has you reaching for your blood pressure cuff, take 10 deep breaths. Then, dive into these five winning strategies that can help you get the most from your limited resources, ease your stress, and bring a smile back to your face.

  1. Stay consistent
    • While your marketing goals may change frequently in the current environment, you don’t have to reinvent your brand every time you target a new set of customers. By staying true to your brand, you’ll make it easier for prospects to understand your company’s offerings, engage with you, and trust in you.
    • Your brand gives you a foundation for success, which is why any new campaigns you develop should tie back into your brand messaging and positioning. If you stray too far off brand, you may confuse or even lose existing customers. And it will cost you far more to win back those lost customers than it will cost you to retain existing ones.
    • Brand consistency will also help you optimize your testing budget. Since you’ll already have your core messaging intact, you can make smaller bets—such as trying new headlines, colors, or imagery—that are more intentional and focused.
  2. Focus on what matters most
    • The best way to stay on course is to think about your marketing efforts as a financial investment in your organization’s future. Taking this type of business-focused approach will ensure you invest your marketing dollars in the right places.
    • For starters, ask yourself these questions:
      • What are our organization’s key objectives?
      • What are our sales needs?
      • What KPIs do we need to reach?
      • What moves customers through our funnel?
      • What speaks to and resonates with our audience?
    • Then use the answers to determine which tactics to invest in—those that will give you the best potential ROI.
  3. Stretch your creative muscle
    • In marketing, there’s no such thing as cruise control. It’s too easy to use a smaller marketing budget as an excuse to rely on tired, old tactical solutions. While it’s true that rinse-and-repeat tactics are a known investment, they also increase the risk that your prospects will grow bored and go away for good.
    • Instead, keep an open mind. Stretch your strategic muscles by trying a new tactic or two that might fit your brand better and help you meet your KPIs in unique and more strategic ways. For example, perhaps you could close more deals by moving your sales collateral from print to digital. Maybe you could drive higher conversions by integrating SMS messaging into your email nurture flows. Or perhaps a new ad channel could target your audience better than existing ones.
  4. Dive deeper into your data
    • These days, most marketers have an overwhelming amount of data at their fingertips. When budgets shrink, it’s an ideal time to comb back through your data and find the metrics that can move your organization forward.
    • Review past campaign performance and audience insights. Talk with your sales team and ask them which differentiators are turning your leads into customers. Review the marketing channels you’ve used in the past and determine which ones shined and which ones flopped. Above all, be honest in your review. Then leverage all of those data points and insights you collect to develop new campaigns that will maximize your marketing investment.
  5. Mix up your budget
    • OK, so the bottom-line budget number isn’t what you expected. But once you get your budget, you get to decide how to allocate it. And that’s where you can get more bang for your buck. If you typically invested it all at once, such as at the start of the fiscal year, maybe this time you could distribute your funds more evenly over time.
    • Another idea is to conduct your marketing efforts in stages throughout the year. You could, for example, run a pilot campaign in Q1 and then optimize in future quarters based on the pilot’s results. Or you could phase in the build of a campaign, starting with landing page or microsite development in Q2, nurture campaign development in Q3, and then digital ads in Q4, optimizing as results warrant such an investment.
    • You can also invest in low-cost initiatives, such as developing an employee advocacy campaign to spread the word about your brand across their preferred social media channels. The key with any of these approaches is to understand your audience, spend wisely, test, and decide how to best invest your remaining budget in additional initiatives.

Don’t Let Limited Funds Stress You Out

We don’t want to see you suffer the effects of marketing burnout. At The Simon Group, we work with clients of all sizes and budgets. We’ll get into the trenches with you, helping you think creatively and plan strategically, so your dollars will make the most impact. Count on us to help you shine, so you can achieve your organization’s goals by day and sleep soundly at night.

Let’s see what we can do for you.

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  1. Harvard Business Review, “Marketing When Budgets Are Down,” June 27, 2023.

  2. Gartner, CMO Spend & Strategy Survey, May 22, 2023.

  3. Integrate, State of B2B Marketing Budgets 2023 Survey, April 25, 2023

    “Integrate, State of B2B Marketing Budgets 2023 Survey, April 25, 2023”