4 strategies for stretching your summer marketing spend
With summer hot on the horizon, it's a good time to think about how you can get the most out of your marketing budget. Columnist Jordan Elkind shares his top strategies.
“What can we do to get more out of our marketing budget while spending less?”
Groan, eye roll and so on. It’s a common request that makes marketers collectively cringe, yet it’s a challenge we’re constantly asked to overcome.
So, how does one beat the marketing heat and make the most of a summer budget? We’ve compiled some advice for the marketer looking to make a splash in the coming months. Some of these tips are simple, necessary reminders that will help you get a leg up, while others require a bit of upfront work and will pay dividends for seasons to come.
Without further ado, below are four strategies for stretching your marketing spend this summer.
1. Revisit data from last year’s campaigns
Most marketers are anxious to get our hands dirty — we’re excited to jump in and get to work. That said, it can be difficult for us to take a big step back and really assess what has worked for us in the past.
To make this activity more exciting, try framing it in a different way that stretches your creative muscles. Yes, you’ll want to look at the numbers to determine what worked and what didn’t, but consider this an opportunity to think about how you can improve similar campaigns the next time around.
Now’s the perfect time to sift through your past marketing campaigns and analyze which had the greatest impact. Take a deep dive into the channel metrics, such as open rate or click-throughs, as well as how your campaigns impacted customer-level metrics, like customer lifetime value (CLV) or early repeat rate (ERR).
Ask yourself, “What would have made this successful campaign even better?” or try brainstorming, “Is there something I could have done for the outcome to have been five times bigger?”
When analyzing past campaigns, be sure to look for those that were most successful in driving high-value customers to convert. While this type of audit may take a bit of time to put together, it will do wonders to help inform your future marketing decisions.
Double down on the strategies that worked, and kick your underperforming campaigns to the curb.
2. Recycle + reformat
The old adage,“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” still rings true, especially given that a marketer’s time is spread more thinly now than ever before.
While you’re making your way back through the analytics of your previous campaigns, take inventory of the assets you could reuse with either little or no modification. Creative assets can be a huge bottleneck in marketing, but if you’re able to recycle just a few here and there, it can save a ton of time and give you leeway to experiment elsewhere.
For example, reuse some of the copy from your best-performing social media posts, swapping out only the product names. Try reusing a well-performing email template and replace only the product images and text.
Feel that you can’t reuse content? Think about it — how many emails do you remember from a year ago? You’re golden as long as you’re offering products that interest your customers.
3. Retain, retain, retain
One of the less-commonly known facts among marketers is the shockingly high cost of acquiring a new customer compared with retaining an existing one. According to a study cited by the Harvard Business Review, it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
This doesn’t mean you should throw all of your customer acquisition efforts out the window. Instead, this should serve as a reminder to consider how you’re allocating resources between acquisition and retention.
The same study points out that increasing customer retention rates by five percent raises profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. That’s a 5x return on the low end of the spectrum and a nearly 20x return on the high end.
Smart marketers should consider implementing triggers that send out marketing messages to bring customers back at precisely the right time. Using slightly more advanced techniques, it’s also possible to stretch your marketing dollars further by segmenting for characteristics such as discount or promotion sensitivity.
For example, you may discover that segments of high-value customers are likely to make repeat purchases, and half are price-sensitive, while the other half are not. You could then run display or social ads targeted to these segments. This type of strategy will help you conserve your discount budget by not offering promotions to shoppers who don’t need them to make purchases.
4. Reach for the low-hanging fruit
Now that we’ve established that encouraging your existing customers to make additional purchases is a surefire way to extend your marketing budget, it’s time to move on to strategies that require a more proactive approach. This is a case where putting in a little more effort (and perhaps cash) up front will pay dividends down the road, both during the summer season and well beyond.
A great example of low-hanging fruit is the customer who has shown interest in a product or service but has yet to convert. It’s easy to relate to, say, the cart abandoner, who placed an item in his or her cart but for whatever reason didn’t make it all the way to pressing the “check out” button.
For cart abandoners, as well as those shoppers who abandoned a search or left the checkout process, there are systems that you can set up to automatically send marketing messages that include the exact item they were browsing. Once implemented, these triggers can essentially run themselves without much oversight. In addition to bringing in incremental revenue, this setup frees you up to focus on other pressing (or fun) matters.