Many of the companies we work with, startups and even mid-sized companies, have aspirations for their marketing programs that are bigger than their marketing budgets. We have developed several strategies to help these companies create an outsized market presence on a budget that works for them.
By market presence, we mean that wherever a customer, prospect, technology or distribution partner, investor or other important audience looks, they see cool, compelling and current information on the company – whether it’s the website, on social media, blog or elsewhere. Here are some recommendations we give when a prospective client comes to us with a smaller budget:
Deploy a marketing automation solution.
The objective of most clients’ marketing programs is primarily lead generation. A series of marketing tactics including earning media coverage, building a social media presence, managing an email marketing program – and similar tactics – drive prospects to the company’s website where forms are set up to capture their name and contact information. From there, marketing automation tools allow us to deliver personalized content to them depending on where they’re at on their journey through the sales funnel.
UPRAISE works with HubSpot, but there are many marketing automation platforms available. By partnering with HubSpot through UPRAISE, companies can save the initial onboarding fees, which can be sizeable. In addition, for startups that are part of an incubator, that incubator may partner with HubSpot or others to offer discounted services.
To maximize the ROI of the marketing program, there must be an effective strategy for capturing and nurturing leads.
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Stagger certain marketing activities.
While not ideal, companies can sometimes stagger certain marketing activities, such as placing contributed articles and submitting senior execs as speakers at conferences. Ideally, the marketing program would include drafting and submitting contributed content to publications that accept them on a continuous basis, often placing 1-2 articles per month. With a smaller budget, companies can cut this back to once per quarter, for example.
However, effective occur continuously. The most obvious is marketing automation – once companies receive new leads, they must act on them quickly or they will become stale. Another is earning media coverage. The competition to get the attention of important editors is fierce, and the companies they remember are those who bring them new information on a regular basis. S
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Focus on only critical marketing activities.
Again, while not an optimal approach, companies can analyze which marketing activities their targets respond to best and focus marketing resources on these. For example, in many markets, social media is the dominant medium; here, it might make sense to devote the bulk of marketing activities on these channels and less on more traditional activities, such as drafting contributed articles for publication.
Marketing budgets in most companies today are strained, causing marketing leaders to rethink their strategies to motivate key audiences to engage. While a comprehensive marketing program consisting of a wide range of activities to impact decision makers from all sides remains ideal, there are times marketers have to make choices. The strategies above can help bridge the gap between marketing aspirations and budget realities.