Each and every year we go through the budgeting process. Marketing’s part in that process is often significant, as a large percentage of the “discretionary” budget belongs to marketing, earmarked for trade shows, out bound campaigns, advertising, etc. We plan the budget, execute marketing throughout the year and review results at the end. Then we start the process over again.
How then do we improve, get better and grow year over year in marketing? The answer is to invest some of your marketing budget for “strategic” purposes. These are expenditures designed to move the company’s marketing along, improve the ability to execute and keep up with trends. Here are three significant ways you can invest strategically in your marketing:
- Train your staff. Sometimes it’s hard to find money for training. Not everyone believes it has a positive ROI. However, in the marketing world, things have been changing rapidly and you and your team need to take on new responsibilities, to understand the latest and greatest marketing techniques and tools. Often, this requires a bit of time and money set aside for training.
- Develop great content. Today we live in a “content marketing” world. “In your face” marketing is out, educating the potential customer is in. Quality content is required to make this happen. It’s an investment because good content can be used and reused and help fuel the marketing engine for years. Don’t wait until you need it; create content now that is topical and current.
- Invest in marketing tools. The marketing world has been rich with new tools; marketing automation platforms, social media tools and the like give us capabilities and options we never had before. However, these tools not only cost money to acquire, there is a learning curve to getting the most out of them. So you’ll not only be investing dollars to get the system, you’ll also be investing staff time in learning to use the tools. However, once these investments are made, they pay considerable benefits for years into the future.
It is important to keep your eye on the big picture in marketing. If you aren’t bringing on new people regularly, you risk falling behind in best practices and the latest marketing techniques. Applying some of your marketing budget to longer term items such as these will keep you and your team up to date.
What strategic items have you invested in? What benefits do you expect?
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