6 places to cut budget (without impacting results) in 2014


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Whether your budget from this year is being challenged for next year, you need to make room for new initiatives, or if you’re simply (and smartly) looking for ways to cut less-efficient initiatives out of your marketing strategy in 2014 without significantly impacting results, here are six places you might want to explore.

Each of these, if executed well, can clearly still generate material results. But I’ve found they can also be the source of some of the most excessive waste in B2B marketing organizations of various sizes and industries.

1. PR
It continues to surprise me how many companies assume by default that they need a PR agency. I know some amazing PR professionals and agencies, but there are too many others that will take a ton of your money and not deliver much in return. Furthermore, there’s a difference between having a PR strategy and hiring a PR agency. That plus PR has changed significantly from the days when the press was your primary conduit to get news, commentary and other information to your prospects to build awareness, interest and preference.

Many companies find they can put more focus on their content & social strategies to get the same awareness, traffic and inbound lead impact without the glut of press releases and PR fees.

2. Paid search
Buying clicks from Google can still help you make a ton of money, but most companies are spending far more than they need to. They manage their paid search programs in aggregate, and aren’t optimizing their programs down to individual keywords and keyword groups, plus measuring impact of clicks through to the sale, to understand which clicks are profitable and which are not.

You may find, for example, that some of your least expensive keywords aren’t converting into business at all. So if you’re managing your spend based on cost per lead, and getting excited about that 50% reduction in CPL you’ve achieved so far in 2013, you may still be losing and wasting money.

3. Blog contributors
The new CEO of a company in Seattle immediately shut off all budget to third-party writers for their blog. He challenged his marketing team to find 10 people, anywhere in and around the business, who could commit to writing one blog post a month. And they did it, within four days. A couple people in marketing, a couple developers, a board member, the CEO himself, etc.

They maintained the focus and science behind their content strategy and actually improved social sharing and pass-along, all while eliminating a significant chunk of their content marketing budget. Third-party writers are great, but only as a supplement to the ideas and direct contributions of people already inside and around the business.

4. Trade shows
You don’t need to be there just to be there. And your trade show strategy isn’t the booth plan, either. You can work an event, conference or trade show without being there. You can also send a couple people to set up meetings or work the hallways, get a ton of business done, and without locking people into booth duty and tens of thousands of dollars.

Events are channels. A booth is one of many ways to leverage that channel. If your target customer is aggregating together somewhere, take advantage. But there are countless ways to do it more cost effectively than the traditional booth set-up.

5. Focus groups
Customer, prospect and market feedback is critical. And sometimes focus groups can help get you that feedback. But the social Web is a daily, real-time feedback mechanism. So are your most loyal customers. Why not invest in an advocate marketing program, set up with a platform such as Influitive, to not only manage and drive greater participation from your customers but actively seek more of their feedback?

Or, check out what ProdThink is doing. They’re offering a real-time platform for capturing product interest, triaging product priorities, and offering a dynamic environment for anyone to play with and evaluate new features. Does it replace the focus group? No. But it can deliver some of the same results faster and at a fraction of the cost.

6. Recruiting fees
The more narrow your criteria, the more important recruiters can be. And lord knows finding the right person can make a huge difference, and justify the recruiter’s fees many times over. But if you’re not actively using LinkedIn to find candidates, you’re missing a huge opportunity to leverage your existing network to ferret out viable candidates.

Job postings require applicants to respond. But in a tight market, your best candidates may not be looking. Filter your search based on seniority, role, skill sets and more. Then ask your connections to make introductions where needed. You’ll be surprised how many top candidates you’ll find in less than 15-20 minutes.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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