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High-Impact Marketing on a Limited Budget

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 20

The pressure is on in this troubled economy, and never has the spotlight (and scrutiny) on marketing departments been more intense. Expectations are high, and the stakes are even higher, yet at the same time, many budgets are at an all-time low. To demonstrate value to the organization continually, marketing professionals must get creative and refresh their repository of ideas to generate maximum results. Here are three high-impact techniques that can be useful—whether you’re flying high financially or on a lemonade-stand budget:

1. Connect with communities. A cost-effective way to connect with your target audience is through participation in your local and online communities. Memberships in local industry organizations can bring increased brand recognition. In addition, reading and posting online comments on relevant articles and industry blogs is a free way to demonstrate thought leadership in outlets that your prospects and customers are actively watching.

2. Tap video and other multimedia. Create zing, and differentiate your communications, by incorporating different types of multimedia, which are now easier and more economical to produce than ever. Use video, visuals, and audio to tell your story in an instructive, attention-grabbing way that makes it easy for prospects to understand what you do. Get the most mileage from videos you create—be they of new products or techniques, or simply a way to share expertise—by incorporating them in trackable communication campaigns, on your Web site, in your blog, and more.

3. Start surveying. Survey data can be a low-cost gold mine. With inexpensive (and sometimes even free) online technologies, you can get the thoughts of customers and prospects on important industry issues and then later follow up with them to report the results. Be sure to ask compelling questions that will create buzz. You can publish your results to a wider audience—thus establishing your company as a foremost expert on these issues—and incorporate the data into your collateral, Web site, and other campaigns/materials.

Joe Gustafson
Waltham, Mass.

Reader Comments

Vijay Menon

October 20, 2009 02:06 AM

Your second point, to create differentiated communication, is very apt. Most marketers today know the virtues of low on cost (but high on time) options like social media. Which means that you are left with the old problem of breaking through the clutter to get your message across.

How often have you heard a dismissive, 'Oh, don't bother with posters, they've become a blind spot', and then walked down the hall and been grabbed by an outstandingly designed poster? That was communication with a zing.

So while it is nice to have the early mover advantage and beat the competition to the Twitters and the LinkedIns, it would be wise to strive for outstanding communication. That's the one surefire way to get noticed all the time.

Pauline Duncan-Thrasher

October 20, 2009 10:38 AM

Vijay pinpoints the way to differentiate. Quality of communication is based for service providers on messages that meet the needs of the audience in the most concise and readable way possible.Knowing what will be attractive to our specific clients matters most. Thanks to Joe for providing low cost marketing strategies.
Pauline Duncan-Thrasher

Chris McGovern

October 21, 2009 08:59 AM

[targeting B2B] If what your first paragraph states is true; we need "to demonstrate value to the organization continually", then none of these suggestion will provide that. At least in the short term. You need sales, Now.

How do we go about doing getting you more sales now? Pick up the phone and call a select goup of customers. Talk to them. Determine how they buy, how you sell, and what they need. Align that and you will be able to sell something.

Quit talking and do something, real!

Barb Girson

October 22, 2009 01:06 AM

There are so many tools that make it possible to market your business cost effectively. These tools used to be available only to large companies.

I recommend developing a loyal email list using tools like Constant Contact which offer email marketing and survey tools. When using social media use to shorten url's and track the performance.

Plus - I agree with the commment posted regarding the value of picking up the phone and talking to your potential customers - so simple and so many businesses avoid this.
Barb Girson

Tami M Pederson

October 25, 2009 02:11 AM

Your three points are simple but can be expanded for small businesses:
1. Connect w/Communities: also volunteer with local and regional business organizations. Not only are you helping other businesses but your name/brand becomes associated within that community through volunteering.
2. Tap Video & other multimedia: Some research on the part of a small business needs to done in this area but the opportunities are unlimited in today's market. Tap into blogs, social networking to find where your market is. Ask you & will you find, free.
3. Start Surveying: Joe has this on nose. Again, research and asking people within your community(and go outside too) will get you to the right area to post polls, find what your customers are really looking for thus generating new business.

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