It's that time of year when in-the-trenches marketers are asked to create a budget for 2006. And if your company is like most (and like mine) we are being asked to do more with as much or perhaps even less. Here are a few ideas we're doing this year that may spark a thought for you as you work on your own budget:
- Focus on PR. Stop advertising and let your customers do your talking for you. Prospects would much rather hear one of your customers talk about how you've helped them succeed. It means a hundred times more than anything you say yourself.
- Testimonials/Case Studies. In addition to PR, or even in place of it if you can't afford to pay a PR agency, is getting your customer to tell your story with their words through a case study or customer testimonial. This doesn't have to be anything fancy. Post quotes on your website or create a pdf and post it on your website or even just email it out to your prospects.
- Create a customer feedback group. This group will prove invaluable (and inexpensive) and will trump any expensive marketing research you do. This group can either meet in person, over the web, or even over the telephone 2-3 times per year.
- Create PDF's of all your collateral. Many prospects would rather have information emailed to them and it cuts your printing costs considerably.
- Communicate to your prospects via a newsletter. A quarterly newsletter is a very cost effective way to stay on the top of your prospect's mind. Create content about your industry in general, not just about your company. Interview authors or consultants in the industry...they're always looking for free publicity and it makes your newsletter content more relevant to your readers. Plus, it's a lot cheaper than direct mail.
Back to my budget...more ideas later.