There will always be ups and downs in a business, whether it be due to an economic downturn, industry shifts or simply the rate at which technology is changing.   You can still afford to keep up with marketing your business, and promoting your brand, without blowing out the expense line of your P&L.

Here are 5 ways to market and brand on a budget.

Reduce, Don’t Remove. 

Tough times are the worst times to cut your marketing altogether. You still need to raise awareness of your brand and continue to stand out in your marketplace. But you can work with a reduced budget, rather than cutting your marketing budget entirely.

In many marketing tactics, whether it be advertising, branding or promotions, there are cost savings available if you pre-order and buy bigger quantities. However when cashflow is tight, it’s worth pulling back and ordering enough to get you through the immediate future. You can always ramp up again when things start improving.

To use an example in our industry:

You used to buy 12 months worth of caps because you got a great rate per unit, the more you ordered. Forgo the unit rate price and look at the total value. Cash is king in tough times so reduce the quantity that you buy with the outlook that in six months time you would have recovered.

  2019 2020  
PRODUCT – caps Qty: 500 Unit Rate:  $9.00 Qty:  250 Unit Rate:  $10.50  
TOTAL VALUE $4,500.00 $2,625 $1,875 benefit

Get creative with your branding on printed items

Your logo might be two colours but you can achieve a great looking product with a variation to your branding.  Cost is often worked out by number of colours and number of locations.  Reduce either one and you will receive a better price. Reduce both and you get money back to your bottom line.

  2019 2020 2020 reduced qty  
PRODUCT – water bottles Qty: 500 Unit Rate:  $6.30 Setups x 2 colours x 2 locations $140.00 Qty:  500 Unit Rate:  $5.65 Setup x 1 colour x 1 location $70.00 Qty:  250 Unit Rate:  $6.10 Setup x 1 colour x 1 location $70.00  
TOTAL VALUE $3,290.00 $2,895.00 $1,595.00 $1,695 benefit

Different Sales Funnels – Research new advertising methods. Investigate partnerships that you could form that would be of mutual benefit – without money exchanging hands.  Maybe you share a target market with a contact that you could run co-branded advertising, or you sponsor their event for them to sponsor yours. Perhaps you could work to build each other’s audiences via social media and collaborations. Get creative.

Co-Brand Uniforms

Are your uniforms looking a little tacky?

Don’t let your business suffer with a bad reputation or a perception of being unprofessional. Ask a supplier to co-brand your uniforms and pay for 30% – 50% of your uniform cost to have their logo on the shirts as well.  An example of this would be an electrician partnering with Haymans, an air-conditioning company asking Daikin to co-brand or a plumber asking Reece. 

Seek out Graduates

Graduates need the experience and you need the more cost-efficient labour.  Win Win!  Source a 3rd year marketing student or graphic design graduate to help you keep up to date with your social media posts, websites, advertising layouts.  These times are tough, but the work and experience graduates can get by working part-time or as sub-contractors as they study will set them up well for the long-term. Just remember that working with interns does take some of your time, to support them and teach them. But it can be well worth it in the end.

Look at your overall marketing strategy

Now more than ever, it’s time to look at your marketing activities, analyse your metrics and analytics, and focus on the activities that are bringing the greatest results. Your branding needs to be strong, consistent and professional, so that your customers are exposed to your brand and your messaging consistently.