Marketers everywhere face the same challenge: Achieving measurable results with limited resources. “I’ve been there in the past,” says Lara Barnett (nee Vandersluis), Head of Marketing for Logicalis Australia. She has a few ideas for marketers working with tight budgets—and how to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of their efforts. More than anything, “it’s about getting creative” and working with what you have to strengthen your brand presence.
“If you look at the businesses that have succeeded during periods of economic uncertainty and made it to the other side in a really strong position, they are the ones that didn't lose sight of their marketing as a valuable piece of the puzzle.
“I’m a demand generation marketer. I love metrics. I'm commercially minded,” she says. “But a lot of marketing teams are constantly being asked to focus exclusively on the lead generation and revenue aspect of marketing, and while that’s definitely a priority, you shouldn’t lose sight of the brand and the power it has in driving business growth.”
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Get creative and work with what you have
“It's about getting creative and working with the tools you already have—and have fun with it! In the past, some of the most creative ideas and best campaigns I’ve come up with have been when I’ve been thrown a curveball like limited budget at the last minute,” she says. “You do think ‘How am I going to tackle that?' Once I was working on a campaign with no budget, but we created some excellent content with our content writer. We've managed to achieve amazing results from that, with downloads, demos, and sales inquiries.”
Another creative way to overcome budget constraints? Give your team members the opportunity to expand their skill sets. “If you don't have the budget to go and create a video with an editor, for example, empower someone in your team to learn how to use simple video editing tools,” she says. Not only does this expand the resources available within your team, but it also gives employees “a skill they can move forward with”. “There’s definitely an opportunity for people to learn.”
Collaborating with partners could also be a game-changer for marketers with limited resources. Lara points out that most businesses have partners they can work with, and exploring opportunities for promotion through their channels could provide another way to scale marketing efforts, even if securing direct marketing funding isn’t an option.
Proving marketing’s value to your business
No matter how creative you get, though, marketers still need to be able to prove the return on investment of their efforts—or risk further cuts to their budgets. Lara acknowledges this can be a challenge in itself for many marketers. “It's always been an issue in marketing, but it's going to become progressively more important in a tougher economic climate,” says Lara. “Marketers really need to be able to show their role in the lead process.”
It's crucial that marketers have an end-to-end view of the lead journey. “How does the business know that this lead came from marketing? You need to be able to show that,” says Lara. She knows this can be difficult without a dedicated data resource, but she notes there are low-cost tools that can help you do this. “You can do that yourself and you really shouldn't be intimidated by it. It can be a lot simpler to achieve if your systems are talking to each other, especially from a marketing and sales point of view.”
Proving ROI is also a matter of knowing the audience you're trying to prove it to. “You might present to the CEO about the marketing campaign and you have a very different presentation to how you present to the product team or the sales team,” she says. ”Make sure you're adapting your message to your audience, as any marketer should.”
Thriving on a limited budget
Ultimately, it’s not impossible to achieve big results on a small budget, if you’re prepared to think outside the box. “There are still huge opportunities, especially when it comes to brand building,” she says. “Get creative with your people, build skill sets, and collaborate.”