Low-Cost Marketing: Good to Great
Do you want to launch an effective marketing campaign that will stampede new business to your door, but short on cash? Here are 7 steps to consider.

1. Remember All Resources

Remember to include all resources, not just cash. Think of the labor involved, who will do it, and the time needed. For example, if you decide to send a direct mail piece, figure the time to decide the campaign objective, who your intended audience is, the offer (and the cost of the offer) the design, the editing, the printing, the fulfillment, stamps, the post-measurement method, even the response process (maybe an extra phone line, or person to answer calls or follow up, sales incentives, or a change needed to the website, etc) – everything, not just one part.

Keep in mind, if you need a highly paid person for 3 hours for the project compared to a lower paid person it makes a difference, all aspects must be considered and counted.  It ALL comes down to dollars

2. Be Clear On Your Objective

Be clear what your objective is and visualize your target audience and exactly how you will appeal to them and solve their problem.

3. Review Past Marketing Efforts

Review past marketing campaigns and think of ways you could make a few alterations to develop an old idea to be more effective.  You may also want to research marketing ideas of your competitors.  Don’t assume if your main competitor is going to a tradeshow that you must.  They may be wasting their money on that show.  If you mimic, make sure you add some new, and much better, elements.

Steps 3-6 is best done on a white board in a group where everyone feels safe to express their ideas and chime in on their area of expertise. No decisions yet, just explore.

4. Brainstorm New Ideas

Generate a long list of ideas, then discuss them using a SWAT analysis or just old fashioned, weighted pros and cons.  Don’t forget to figure all the resources needed. Then decide which idea sounds good.

5. Put on the Breaks!

Now that you’ve decided on a good idea, Stop!  What? But you have a good idea. Yes, but is it keeping you from a great idea?

Stand back and look at your marketing campaign from a different perspective. Think of the total costs of resources needed and write that at the top of your white board.  Look at that total dollar amount and think of what else you could do with that same amount of money.

Because your real goal is not low-cost marketing, it is getting the very best ROI (return on investment).

If you were ready to spend those resources on your good idea, now think about what you could also do with that amount of money, or that many hours of labor and time. Start making another list of how to spend for company growth as if suddenly those resources have been handed to you as a gift.

6. Repeat Step 4

Now that your brain is thinking in a whole new way, and in a different direction, repeat Step 4. Except this time, find the idea that is Great! And now you are almost finished.

7. Break It Down

Break the idea down and see if the person in charge of each step can think of at least 2 other creative ways to do that step before a final decision is made.  Sometimes, someone in a different ‘department’ can see a better way. In a small company, the other ‘department’ could be a co-worker, partner, spouse, mentor, or business associate. Just keep an open mind and be ready to listen. If you’re a one-person operation, come back and take a fresh look in a few days.

This process keeps you from ‘settling’ too soon. Good can be the enemy to Great.

Stephanni Myers
Xcel Marketing

Stephanni Myers, is the owner of Xcel Marketing, a promotional products and marketing consulting firm. She believes her company’s tag line, “Using Promotional Products is Intelligent Fun!” She really tries to make marketing Fun for her clients and Intelligent for their business. She specializes in low-cost, but effective, marketing solutions. She is a popular presenter and volunteer mentor with SCORE where she donates her time and expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses. A lover of words, she is the award-winning author of two published books and hundreds of magazine articles. See her blog at www.stefinitelyunique.com. Stephanni and her husband, Russ are the parents of eight and grandparents to fourteen.