- Digital marketing budget optimization has been a core theme in 2022, and will only become more pressing in 2023
- Neal Schaffer speaks with six marketing experts and offers his own perspective to provide seven budget optimization tips
- He covers four easy tactical changes to action today, and three strategic tips based on data, testing, and prioritization
As we enter a new year, and a potential recession, marketers everywhere are examining their digital marketing budgets. We are all seeking ways to get more marketing power with fewer dollars. There is no better time to look for fresh ideas. We should remind ourselves of what has worked in the past to find inspiration as we head into the new year.
While I could blog and give you my advice, I enjoy reaching out to the amazing marketers that I know in my network to help tap into the combined wisdom of these marketers to give you different perspectives in hopes that you will find one that resonates with your specific situation.
With this in mind, let’s look at what the experts recommend to help you optimize your digital marketing budget as we begin to market in a recession.
Tactical digital marketing budget optimization tips
Let us begin with the more easily implemented tactical and practical advice that you can action immediately.
1) The ROI of simply keeping up with the latest trends
Andre Oentoro, CEO and Founder of Breadnbeyond
Keeping up with the latest trends is one of the crucial practices that help me and my team maximize our marketing budget. In the fast-paced digital marketing world, trends come and go, which means what works today does not always work tomorrow. When we understand what our customers currently want and are excited about, we better understand where we need to adjust to remain competitive. We immediately invest in tools and content that speak to these latest trends. And let go of ones that we think are becoming irrelevant.
This process will not only help us cut down some costs from doing outdated, no-longer-work strategies but also helps us keep a close eye on the competition and ensure that our marketing strategies are always up-to-date and relevant to our target audience. Of course, all this research and implementation takes more effort as we must constantly look for fresh trends. However, it is worth it when our audience engages with our content and continues to do business with us.
2) Place strategic, intentional bets on brand awareness play
Zach Grove, Growth Advisor, ZachGrove.com
To begin with, you might put 5% of your budget into brand awareness. (E.g., buying ads on niche podcasts or running LinkedIn video ads targeting a list of your dream B2B customers.) In the ensuing weeks, monitor the impact on your organic search traffic, direct traffic, and overall customer acquisition. While you might not be able to directly attribute revenue to these awareness plays (since many folks will remember your company and Google you later), you will often find that there is a “halo effect” on all your other digital marketing channels. You will see more search traffic and better ad performance in the weeks following a brand play.
Pro tip: A simple “how did you hear about us?” form field on your website can help you work out the true value of brand investments. If results are promising, continue to increase your brand awareness investing when optimizing your budget.
Here’s a look at how Mastercard benefited from a multisensory marketing brand awareness strategy.
3) Put more focus on content creation than media amplification
Bhujal Patel, Founder of My Digital Kube
Most businesses (small or big) spend 80% of their budget on media buying rather than creating the content itself to buy the media in the first place. I have seen what works best for my eCommerce D2C businesses is to make more creatives, because that is the prime variable for success. Allocate at least 60% of your budget for contextual creatives and the rest for buying the media. This has worked well in my experience.
4) Invest more in (influencer) relationships
Neal Schaffer, Fractional CMO
One of the easiest ways to optimize your digital marketing is by making a bigger investment in one type of marketing which will help optimize and lower spend on multiple types of marketing.
This type of marketing that I refer to is influencer marketing. When you look at influencers as being those social media users that publish content and have networks of friends and fans that follow their advice, you begin to see a holistic perspective on influencer marketing. These people might be external influencers, subject matter experts, your customers, your fans, and followers, or even your employees. The unifying thing about them is that they are creating content and publishing it on social media.
The key is to not only use these external and internal influencers to amplify your content and brand but as content creators themselves. Leverage user-generated content, especially in coordination with a comprehensive influencer marketing program. This can help you reduce your budget spend on content (free content anyone?), optimize your digital ads (UGC has been shown to improve paid media performance) as well as improve your website conversions (UGC has been shown to improve shopping cart conversions). It might also be the impetus to launch your customer loyalty program.
For every dollar that you invest in paid media, try to invest a fraction of that in relationships with these various stakeholders and leverage the content that they produce, and I believe you will see how this might just have the biggest impact on your digital marketing budget optimization.
The science of marketing budget optimization
While the above is on the tactical level, budget optimization is a science that revolves around data, testing, and prioritization. Follow these tips to better understand how to manage your budget spend regardless of the department you work for.
5) Marketing budget optimization is a continuous effort of continued testing
Ammara Tariq, Marketing Manager, Chanty
Regardless of whether your company employs conventional methods to set marketing budgets, adopts current trends, or has a unique model based on specific requirements, there is a strong likelihood that with each successive year, you will dedicate more of it towards digital marketing.
When it comes to digital marketing, budget optimization is a continuous effort. With so many methods for measuring and controlling results at your disposal, it is critical to keep testing even after you have decided which channels to concentrate your efforts on.
Even minor changes to a campaign can bring in dramatically different outcomes. For instance, if a social media post is generating a positive ROI, a minor change in the caption could improve it even more.
If you want to get the most out of your digital marketing budget, your marketing team must constantly refine campaigns across all channels. Consistently try innovative ideas, techniques, and approaches.
A minor modification in a campaign is unlikely to result in higher spending. But if it generates a higher ROI than before, you have effectively optimized your marketing budget while improving results.
6) Marketing budget optimization is all about managing the numbers
Emma Williams, Founder of Seene Digital
When it comes to digital marketing, having a clearly defined budget and tracking expenses is essential. Then, when you start implementing your strategy, make sure to regularly review the performance of your marketing activities and how they have contributed to your bottom line. If certain channels or activities are not working, investigate the reasons and see if you can change this. If something is working, can you put more budget into this to further improve performance?
7) The key is prioritization
Gaurav Sharma, CEO, Attrock
The key to budget optimization lies not in allocating resources equally to all aspects of digital marketing but in choosing which tactics to use and which to avoid. It is all about prioritizing.
Research your audience and understand what types of platforms, content, and marketing tactics are most effective for them. Then, make a list of tasks in decreasing order of priority and allocate resources accordingly.
Do not bother trying your hands at everything in hopes that it may work. Instead, do a few things and do them right. This will not only help you optimize your marketing budget but will streamline your entire marketing process.
Other useful marketing budget optimization tips are to repurpose content and use templates. Create templates for distinct types of content that you post regularly. Reuse and repurpose content to get the most out of it.
Both save you time and money. They effectively optimize your budget so you can allocate more resources to the more important tasks.
Optimize Your Digital Marketing Budget Spend Today
Unless you have money to burn, digital marketing budget optimization should be a nonstop, kaizen process that you should always be implementing. Try to import some of these tips into your marketing processes today and reap the benefits tomorrow.
Neal Schaffer is an authority on helping innovative businesses digitally transform their marketing. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal is currently a Fractional CMO for several companies. He is also a social media marketing instructor at Rutgers Business School and an influencer marketing instructor at UCLA Extension. He is the author of four marketing books, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and the recently published The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership), a ground-breaking book redefining digital influence. Download a free preview of the Age of Influencer here.
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