Getting a Stronger Return On Your Marketing Investment

Balancing short term and long term marketing objectives can be a struggle for a small business.  Here’s an idea for stretching your marketing dollar. 

When cash flow gets tight, many small businesses look for ways to “find more money” in their current expenses. Smart business owners know that by cutting the marketing budget in the short term, they will be turning off the pipeline for future sales. 

So what to do?  Maybe just divert.  Making a minor switch could actually increase response and lower costs. 

How is that possible? 

Barbara Rozgonyi (speaker, marketing consultant & small business owner herself) at Wired PR Works suggests that PR delivers a stronger ROI than advertising for a small business.  Take a look at her recent post: How to Find Marketing Funding.  She offers a ROI tool in the form of a chart to review marketing effectiveness.

Think about the last time you ran an ad.  Then think about the last time you had a press release published.  Let’s use the example of a local newspaper:

 The Ad:

  • ran on the day you specified
  • had a box around it on the bottom of the page
  • cost a little because you probably hired a graphic designer to create the ad (maybe the newspaper offered their “free” resources)
  • cost a lot for media distribution (between “4¢ and 10¢” a potential customer – I’m just guessing — you’ve got to figure your cost per circulation based on your local media)
  • got noticed (maybe 4 or 5 coupons for discounted/products redeemed or 3 or 4 phone calls.) Not that many?  Whoops!

The PR:

  • ran two weeks after you wanted it to
  • was at the top of the page and it looked like a reporter wrote it
  • cost a little because maybe hired a writer to create the press release (maybe you wrote it yourself)
  • cost “nothing” for insertion and cost of postage for mailing, nothing for emailing.
  • got noticed (people didn’t call/come in immediately, but months later people would mention that they read about you in the paper!)

The downside of PR is that it is a longer term investment, it doesn’t deliver dollars to the top line immediately. But by replacing today’s ad with PR, you will add $ to the bottom line by shrinking costs. And still not abandon your marketing efforts! 

Ads help to sell product, get the phone ringing right now – especially when paired with a short term promotion, discount, give away.  The benefit of PR is that it helps raise your total goodwill, net worth by building awareness.  If your potential customer never heard of you or knows anything about you, how is 10% off going to make a difference?

I believe that if you invest in the PR, the brand image, the long term stuff — that the short term problems tend to take care of themselves. 

One of the more important benefits of PR vs Ads is that you’re not jumping around from ad-to-ad, promotion-to-promotion, coupon-to-coupon — training your customers to wait to buy until you have another “deal” on the table. 

And as a marketing consultant myself, I feel this is better for small business owners since they are usually busy juggling all the business functions – R&D | Marketing | Sales | Operations | Accounting | HR | IT | Planning – so having a longer term marketing program in place helps to keep things manageable!

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

5 thoughts on “Getting a Stronger Return On Your Marketing Investment”

  1. Chris:
    Thanks for the mention!
    Like the way you pulled out ads versus PR. When I do workshops, I find that many business owners prefer ads because they know more about how advertising works than how PR performs.
    And, let’s face it, sometimes you need a PR pro to not only help you tell your story, but also to help you get the word out. I like to teach people how to tell their own stories so they make news and a lasting impression.
    RE: budgets – the post you referred to inspired me to dig around and trim excess costs, in about 2 hours I found over $900 – and content for another post.
    Looking forward to talking more at SOBCon!
    Barbara, @wiredprworks on Twitter

  2. How about BTL activity.

    If you have some good brand activation going on, not only does it boost sales, with the right idea and execution it will also build brand equity?

    Chris, your comments?

  3. Pingback: Marketing Funding Challenge: How Much Can You "Find" in Two Hours? | wiredPRworks
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