Some top tips during strange times to help you invest your marketing budget in the right way

The irony of an advertising agency telling you to invest during these strange times is not lost on us. But as our clients will tell you, we’re not the kind of frivolous agency who likes to see money wasted. We are from Yorkshire after all. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to make sure whoever you invest your marketing budget with (and we hope it’s us, of course!), you do it in a way that is more likely to give you a solid return.

Let’s not hang about, let’s get into these essential tips you’ve promised to tell us.

Do a deal with your agency to cover salaries and a small profit in return for a volume of work.

You’ll no doubt be working with a few different agencies and freelancers, but now more than ever it makes sense to open a dialogue with a preferred agency to help you get the most out of your budget and the agency a commitment to a volume of work.

In return the agency gives you their best price when it comes to a cost per hour charge. Even simply covering salaries with an additional percentage for overheads (such as electricity bills etc) is a good deal at the moment for most agencies. You’ll find a lot of agency owners open to discussions when it comes to helping them secure their business and keep their staff busy and paid.

Take a look at your competition and task your agency with making you more inventive, attractive and louder than they are

Every business has competitors and they’ll all be wondering what they should be doing at this time. So your best bet is to challenge your agency with reviewing your competitors and devising you a strategy (on an agreed budget) to ensure you’re still around when all of this ends by making sure you are louder with your offering, inventive with any messaging and attractive with any offers you choose to make to get customers over the line.

At OTB we regularly are set challenges like this by clients. We’ll work with you to devise you a strategy for success built on decades worth of marketing experience but also simple ingenious creative thinking that gives you a survivalist instinct.

Go 360 with your thinking and media spend, make sure you get your message on as many channels as possible

We’re not telling you to up your media spend. But we are advising you to get inventive when it comes to getting your message everywhere. Pool the resources of PR and digital teams, get your agency to create a kick ass cut through piece of creativity that gets people talking about you. And get all your employees to share, share, share on as many social platforms as possible.

And once you’ve done that, that’s when to get smart with your media agency, get them to hunt down deals for you, plenty of companies will have pulled TV adverts so there will likely be some good deals going. But also now’s the time to review where you put your media spend – there are lots of people at home at the moment so direct mail and door drops have never been more in vogue, similarly daytime TV through platforms like Sky Adsmart could be an interesting option to trial, as well as day part paid online advertising and social.

Guard any high-value customers that you might have – especially from your competitors

Simply put, do whatever it takes to protect your high-value customers, including giving them exclusive price promotions not on offer to anyone else. It might be worth, once you’ve identified them, opening a dialogue with them, to find out what their concerns are and maybe even let them decide what rewards they receive for continuing to be loyal to you. It might not even be that you offer them something now – if you’re in fashion you could consider giving them an exclusive offer for Christmas that they can cash in during December if they buy one thing every month with you now.

Again, this is the time to engage your agency, get them to come to you with inventive ways that you can identify, retain and encourage your high-value customers whether it be a B2B or B2C sector you operate in.

Use price promotions yes, but get inventive with any offers

Buy one get one free and other price promotions will always be popular during strange times like these when people are concerned about money. But enticing offers don’t always have to be about saving money now, or at all. Again, this is where you should get your agency thinking for you, taking your offering and devising you inventive and enticing ways to get sales over the line and attract new customers.

We’ve already given you one idea in the high value customers section, but another idea is to get everyone who orders in a particular time period entered into a prize draw to win the value of their order back… we have lots of great offer ideas like these that you can use, so simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to create some for you.

Make sure any messaging uses all the best psychological techniques

Too many marketers push out messaging that is simply vanilla. But the best marketers know that to engage, persuade and compel to buy you need something extra in your marketing and advertising armoury… and at OTB we utilise the behavioural science and psychological techniques to ensure any messages that your customers receive are as persuasive as possible.

From the rule of three to pratfalling to temptation techniques. We have a huge array of techniques for you to tap into (as should every agency worth their salt) that will give you more of a chance when it comes to getting that sale. A set of principles we follow are Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence, which are:

  1. Reciprocity

One of the most basic principles of influence is to give something first, that way you are more likely to receive something in return. Giving your target audience small gifts, treating them with respect, ‘we’ll give you x …if you do X’. Try it, it really works. In fact it’s worked for the Readers Digest for over 60 years.

  1. Consistency

The principle of consistency is based on voluntary commitments, which results in people actually sticking to their word. When your target audience actively commit to something, they’re much more likely to follow through.

  1. Social Proof

People rely on social media on how to think, feel, and act in many situations. And not just any people, but peers. One of the best ways to get this across in marketing was demonstrated by BT who ran a campaign saying something like “thousands of people are coming back to BT”. And guess what, it resulted in thousands of people returning to BT – so never underestimate the power of the crowd.

  1. Liking

People like those who like them or who they perceive as friends. It’s a simple, yet powerful idea. The principle of liking can be used in a few different ways. One method is finding common ground – that could be shared values or a shared cause. So use any insights you have on your customers and find some common ground, empathise with them and watch them warm to you and ultimately transact with you.

  1. Authority

When you are perceived as an expert in an area, other’s will be more likely to defer to you. Why? Often because experts are able to offer a shortcut to good decisions that would otherwise take a long time to devise themselves. The idea then is to establish that credibility of authority and expertise. So, emphasise the awards you have won and shout about any good customer feedback you have received or accreditations you have.

  1. Scarcity

People value what is scarce. It’s just basic supply and demand. Look at what has happened recently with toilet roll. If you can devise a way to create some scarcity with either a product or an offer (such as secret sales, time limited offers and being the first of a number of customers) and watch those sales roll in.

If any of the tips we’ve suggested here excite you then feel free to get in touch with the team at OTB. Our Managing Partner, Jo, is ready and waiting to take your call or receive your email.

Jo.waddington@otbagency.co.uk

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