Tame your marketing budget

If there’s one thing the economy has taught us, it’s how to do more with less. As the 2000s came to an end, so did carefree spending and “the sky’s the limit” motto shared by so many companies. We were all suddenly grounded, and while finding the silver lining has been difficult for some, others have thrived after placing a higher emphasis on customer service, improving their products, and creating a sound budget. Working with less is challenging, so below are 12 ways to help tame your marketing budget.

1. Devise and follow individual budgets for each project. Project-specific budgets will help your team focus and keep the big picture budget on track throughout the year.

2. Share your budgets. A great creative team will appreciate the trust and try to meet or exceed your expectations.

3. Keep timelines realistic. Rush fees (or overtime) add up fast. When possible, include enough time for your project to move forward in an orderly fashion. If it’s truly a “hot” project, include rush or overtime in your budget to avoid surprises.

4. Know (and communicate) as much as possible about the project. What are your expectations? Desired outcomes? Audience, barriers, preconceived notions, likes, dislikes, major selling points, benefits, etc. A creative brief is a great organizational tool.

5. Stick to the plan. Changes of scope are big-time budget killers! If necessary, bite the bullet. And at all costs, try to avoid complete changes in direction.

6. Trust the team. Nothing can derail a project faster than content owners who dabble in design or copywriters who want to own the content. Identify appropriate roles and let the team excel at their individual parts.

7. Keep your review team to a minimum. More heads are usually better than one. When reviewing creative, however, too many heads could mean disaster. Everyone has their own preferences and the project could end up in a never-ending loop of revisions. Keep you team to key stakeholders.

8. Manage the review process. Completing multiple changes all at once, are much more efficient than round after round of revisions. Begin by routing to all reviewers at once and be firm about when feedback is due. Once all comments are returned, filter carefully to determine critical changes and provide the consolidated list to your creative team.

9. Fresh eyes. Ask a detail-oriented colleague, with little or no knowledge of the project, to review it carefully. You’ll be surprised by the things a fresh set of eyes can find.

10. Sign for approval. Ask your reviewers to literally “sign off” on the final approved draft. When people have to sign something, it triggers a “read this carefully” response! This can help to avoid costly changes once the project has been released for production.

11. Choose a printer wisely. Many printers (like Prisma Graphic) have extensively trained sales staff that can provide money saving options. It's always best to get your sales rep involved at the project's planning stage. An experienced rep will provide efficient sizes, combo print run possibilities, invaluable production tips and new techniques for example; all of which will maximize your spend.

12. Order smart. Although marketing materials can quickly become outdated, the cost to cover a small over-run is nothing compared to producing that same small quantity down the road. Determine the shelf life of the piece and add 5%-10% to cover unforeseen requests, samples, etc.

For more tips on how to manage your marketing budget, contact one of Prisma's seasoned Sales Representatives at 602 243-5777 or printit@www.prismagraphic.com.

[Adapted from Sherri May & Company’s Tips to Tame your Marketing Budget]

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[About us: Prisma Graphic is a full-service, marketing solutions provider with an emphasis in commercial printing that specializes in online marketing supply chain management. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and a commitment to customer service, we partner with clients to develop cost-effective programs that execute integrated brand campaigns and highly-targeted business communications. Our ongoing evolution is to deliver sales opportunities at the lowest possible cost.]

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