Tag Archives: marketing budgets

Marketing Strategies – Essentials from the Experts

The many facets of marketing can be daunting. What does your business’s marketing strategy actually need? How much should you be spending on a marketing? How do you get potential customers to connect with your brand?

The answer is there is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to marketing. Your business is as unique as your fingerprint and should be treated as such.

While there is no single method, there are components of marketing that every business needs to think about. Our team has put together their marketing genius to help get your gears turning.

“Having a clear vision of your brand and maintaining that in all of your creative and social content. Your brand identity is the best tool in your sale’s kit. It is what drives customers to want to interact with you. Until that first person-to-person interaction occurs your only goal should be to sell who you are and not necessarily your product or service.”

Tim, Account Manager

“I think the most important part of marketing is adding value to people’s lives. Instead of thinking about how you can sell something, think of how you can impact their lives in a positive way.”

Mariah, Account Coordinator

“Being on target with your message and delivering it clearly. Too many commercials and advertisements make me say, “What the…?” because I have no idea what message they’re trying to get across to me. It’s one thing to be clever but being unclear is another.”

Heather, COO

“Figure out who you want to market to. Once you know your target audience, you can create messages that will resonate deeper with people. Connecting on a more personal level will help to improve communication and build customer loyalty.”

Alexa, Graphic Designer

“Know what the goal of your message is. Are you trying to evoke an emotion from viewers? Inform people of something? Have a clear vision of what your overall goal is so your marketing is continuously working to achieve it.”

Keely, Graphic & Web Designer

“Having your own unique voice and brand persona. The style you write content in, how you interact with followers on social media, the look and feel of your creative material – all these elements give your audience a glimpse into who you are as a business. Use these opportunities to tell your story and connect people not only to your products and services, but your overall brand.”

Jen, Content Creator

The boss of the apple sauce has two must-haves to share:

“First is simplicity. Whether it’s a big billboard or a business card, if your material is too busy or complicated to grasp right away, the chance to connect with your audience will be lost.

Second, and perhaps the most important of all is brand standards and consistency. Too many businesses have an “it’s good enough” attitude which stunts their growth. Consistently holding your marketing to the highest level of standards across all of your marketing mediums and your brand will not only be elevated in appearance, but more trusted by the people you are trying to communicate with.”

Dave, Creative Director

 

Incorporate these essentials into your marketing plan for a well-rounded strategy that gets results. Still not quite sure where to begin? Our team of marketing gurus has your back – give us a call to chat about how we can help build the strategy that fits your business best.

 

Phases of the M.O.A.B. (Marketing on a Budget)

Building a marketing strategy that works for your business (and budget) is as essential as it is challenging. It must be as unique as your business and molded according to what you can afford, while ensuring you’re hitting all the crucial components you need to grow your company.

How can you have an effective marketing strategy on a budget? Working your plan through a series of phases can help you succeed.

Start with what you know you absolutely need in order to function as a business. Every business will be different, and your plan will be determined by the amount of resources available to you through your marketing budget. Typically, this would include a website, social media activity, basic SEO and maybe some office essentials like business cards.

The key to phase one is to have a foundation that opens the lines of communication between you and your target audience. If your budget is a little bigger, the first phase of your strategy may reach far beyond the few aforementioned components. If your budget is on the smaller side, maybe you’ll be able to start with one or two of these and build on them as your company grows.

Wherever you are, start with the essentials your customers will need in order to find you and learn more about your business.

As your company grows, so should your marketing budget and strategy. Enter phase two! Break through the plateau at the end of phase one by putting more of your budget into expanding on what your current strategy includes.

Maybe your initial budget only allowed you to have a one-page website with a company description and phone number, but you’re ready to transform it into a several-page site complete with a blog, photo gallery and product videos.

If you started with a Facebook page to establish a presence on social media, enhance your strategy by increasing the frequency of posts and activity, and exploring other social media platforms on which to create business pages to increase your reach.

Look into upping your SEO game in phase two if your initial budget in phase one only allowed you to do the basics. This will help you be more easily found by potential customers and like-minded audience members across the web.

Continuously reshape your strategy to expand and cover more bases as you grow. Use phase three as a time to continue to expand your current efforts, while also exploring other marketing avenues to research and invest in that will allow you to reach more of your target audience.

Again, every business’s strategy will be different, including its timeline from one phase to the next, level of growth and avenues for marketing. Start where you can and always be reworking your strategy so it’s in line with your ever-developing company.

At Stray Media Group, we work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them find the marketing strategy that best fits their needs while being conscious of their budget. Our goal is to help you succeed within the means that you have, so you can work on growing your company to its full potential.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you define and execute a marketing strategy for your business today.

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets.

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets

Ahh…the age-old questions, “Why do I need a marketing budget, and how do I determine what it should be?” We hear this a lot from companies of all industries and sizes, ages and market share. Figuring out the sweet spot can be challenging, but we can help. Take a look at these three keys to understanding marketing budgets to get you started in the right direction.
Calculate what you currently spend on marketing now.

Many companies have a fixed percentage of revenue devoted to marketing, while others have no clue what they currently spend on marketing in a given year. Whether or not you realize how much you currently spend on marketing, your business is in some way, shape, or form currently putting dollars toward customer acquisition.

Do you have employees? How about an office building? Company cars? Uniforms? All of these are what we refer to as ‘touch points,’ and they are all moving pieces of your business’s marketing budget. Touch points are essentially any encounter a customer or potential customer has with your company or brand.

For instance, let’s say you own a pizza pub and one of your employees goes above and beyond to make sure a new customer has the best experience possible. That customer’s positive encounter with your brand will likely bring them back for repeat business, and motivate them to tell their friends and even become an advocate for your brand by giving a great review on Yelp or sharing a food photo and checking in on Facebook.

Now let’s imagine you own a plumbing business with company vehicles that are rusting all over and always filthy, and the drivers tend to cut people off when driving. When people that could have been potential customers encounter a poor experience with your brand, the chance that they will ever think of you the next time they need plumbing service is slim to none, and they may even go so far as to tell friends or coworkers about their bad impression of your company.

All of these pieces work together to market your brand just as much as a television commercial, website, print ad, or any other marketing medium. Every company should have a marketing line on its P & L that calculates each touch point for your company. Factoring those in when analyzing your budget will help you understand more clearly what you are actually spending each year on marketing.
What the industry says across the board about setting your marketing budget.

From business type and revenue to overall growth goals, every company is unique and the process for developing a marketing budget is no different. While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting a marketing budget, there are industry guidelines and suggestions that should be targeted.

The general rule of thumb is that 10-12% of your annual revenue should be put toward marketing. The Small Business Administration advises allocating 7-8% of revenues for companies less than $5 million. Will this be effective – or even possible – for every business? The answer is no. “Around 10% is the industry standard, but we usually tell people anywhere from 2-15% depending on what their marketing goals are and what type of business it is,” says Dave Gilbert, President of Stray Media Group. “Typically in the immediate area we serve – the upper Red River Valley – we see companies that are much more conservative with their marketing budgets, and they range between 1-5%.”

If you have a smaller company, especially one that’s still heavily in the growth phase, your magic number will need to (greatly) increase in order to create the customer following your business needs to grow in the right direction. When would it be appropriate to decrease the percentage? If your company is a strongly differentiated, well-established leader –Apple, for instance – this number may decrease because you already have a solid, loyal customer base. Even in the case of monster companies like Apple, a non-existent marketing budget or one under 1% won’t work hard enough for your business, so it’s important to think long and hard about the best plan for achieving your goals.
How to find your magic number when it comes to setting your company’s marketing budget.

Ultimately, setting your company’s marketing budget is going to first take some analysis of your current efforts to calculate what percent of your annual revenue you are currently spending. Then you need to do some serious thinking about what your business’s goals are for growth and what you want to get out of your marketing, to help give you perspective on where your budget should be.

When working to find that magic number for your company, realize going into it that marketing is an essential part of gaining new customers and should be a line item on your P & L (if it isn’t already). A <1% marketing budget won’t get you much, and goals like new customers, growth or expansion, and being top of mind in today’s competitive marketplace should be worth a lot more to any business.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Ben Franklin

Are you a progressive company with a strong focus on growth? Hoping to increase customer engagement? Maybe you’re looking to stay top of mind with your existing audience? Regardless of your current company status, start by evaluating your overall business goals and plan your budget to match.
Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help. At Stray Media Group, we recognize that every company is unique. We can customize and prioritize a marketing plan that fits your budget and helps reach your goals. Contact us to help you start growing in the right direction today.