A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to speak to the Raleigh SEO Meetup organized by Ashley Berman-Hale and Phil Buckley @1918.  The topic was “Branding on A Budget,” and since I’ve worked for many small companies I’ve had my share of challenging marketing goals on little or no budget.  In preparing my speakers notes I came across some marketing strategies to help get the most from your budget.

  • Beatles Rockband Rock Your Sites Tradeshow DisplayFind a major media event that may be happening at the same time as your marketing campaign.  Last year I had to promote a trade show appearance for Site Dynamics.  I had a minimal budget of $300 for promotional items.  One of the big stories in the mainstream media at that time was the release of Beatles Rockband.  I decided to tie into the buzz of the video game release by giving away guitar picks and a copy of Beatles Rockband to booth visitors.  For more details on the campaign read the blog post here.
  • Make the most of major events.  Another client, SignalShare was preparing to work the Pepsi Fan Jam at this year’s SuperBowl.  Since the company was a start up and had a new story to tell I reached out to people I knew at WRAL Channel 5 and pitched them on the story idea.  It worked and WRAL did a story on SignalShare that aired the week before the SuperBowl.
  • Use Social Media where and when appropriate.  I manage the newsletter for the Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association @TriangleAMA and delved into social media as a method to increase exposure for the newsletter articles.  I found that by creating a blog and Twitter presence I was able to reach Triangle area marketing professionals and increase awareness of our programs and events.  Website traffic increased and so did meeting attendance.  Over the past two years we have incorporated social media into our strategic outreach and communication strategy.  Click here to read my case study on Triangle AMA social media.
  • Find partners with more money or brand awareness than you.  Many times we have corporate partners, resellers, etc. that have a strong brand presence.  See if they are willing to do a co-op promotion or campaign to increase their customer base as well as yours.  If you partner with a major brand, see what their co-op program offers.  Many large companies have entire departments for managing co-op funds and struggle to get partners to use them.

Overall these strategies are great for when you are starting to build your brand.  Ideally as your company grows so should your marketing budget and resources.  I’ve seen too many companies not do this and then when the economy goes south they panic.  Branding on a budget mostly requires creativity and savvy.  Building your brand requires a commitment to marketing and an understanding of its importance to your organization.  As with any organizational activity use your budget wisely, evaluate vendors and perform your due diligence.

I want to thank Ashley, Phil and everyone that attended and asked great questions.

What are your tips for getting the most from your marketing budget?

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.