8 strategic ways to spend your marketing budget in 2022
As the world approaches the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders are faced with marketing challenges that did not exist pre-pandemic. With that in mind, you might want to revisit your marketing budget.
“The way organizations integrate their marketing with other parts of the business has been evolving, but the pandemic has pushed that forward,” said Tara Kinney, CEO of Atomic Revenue. “Many companies used to focus their marketing efforts on demand generation and lead generation, but marketing (is) part of all the functions (of an organization).”
Eric Holtzclaw agreed.
“Marketing was so much simpler in the Don Draper days,” said Holtzclaw, founding partner and chief strategist of Liger Partners, a marketing-as-a-service firm that specializes in identifying, establishing and executing measurable marketing strategies for companies. “Today, marketing carries a much heavier burden across the customer journey.”
To help understand how to spend your marketing budget in 2022, here are seven ideas that will help yield actual results.
1. Focus on human resources
Kinney believes the biggest demand driver of the year is going to be human resources and recruiting.
“Employee acquisition is the new customer acquisition,” she said. “You have to change the way you have managed your recruiting, hiring, onboarding and employee communication practices if you want to retain good talent and hire for the growth you’re trying to achieve.”
2. Invest in data
Metrics matter, from what values a customer looks for in your organization to how they interact on your website. Without detailed data, you can make gross assumptions that could be costly, Holtzclaw said.
Take, for example, website traffic vanity metrics. Company A can brag about having twice as many visitors to their site as Company B, but because Company B invested in better understanding its audience, its smaller traffic is leading to three times as many sales as Company A because the right people are visiting Company B’s website.
One simple tool Holtzclaw recommended investing in is website user testing to understand where site visitors may be getting lost or dissuaded along their customer journey.
“People invest too much in tactics and not enough in information,” Kinney said. “If people don’t have good technology and data, that would be the first place to invest, because any other area you invest in will be driven off of that information.”
3. Emphasize culture content
A company’s culture can often make the difference between whether an employee wants to remain or pursue a new opportunity, and it also is relevant to customers. Creating content that highlights what it’s like to work at your company and what you are trying to achieve with your work environment is important. So, too, is making sure that content is communicated internally.
Implementing a monthly internal newsletter that emphasizes company culture helps employees feel connected to their organization. There also are a variety of automation tools available to help with distributing this type of content as part of a nurturing campaign for employees, recruits and customers.
4. Remember reputation management
Gartner research found that B2B buyers commit just 17% of their time to interacting with potential suppliers while considering a purchase. The rest of the time is spent doing their own research. What that means is what that buyer finds on Google or Glassdoor about your business, or what they discover interacting with past customers or employees, could be a major factor in whether they decide to buy from you.
It’s important to devote time and money to monitoring what’s being said about your business online. A plan should also be shared with employees about what to do if they notice something mentioned about the company online that should be addressed.
5. Upskill marketing team members
It’s important to know that members of your marketing team can respond to the needs of the times, Kinney said. In 2022, that means making sure everyone understands and can address the HR needs of an organization.
Holtzclaw also recommended marketers focus not as much on selling a product as they do on teaching the customer something new.
6. Spend strategically on social media and SEO
Holtzclaw said it’s common for leaders with extra marketing budgets to want to dump the difference in social media advertising. While investing in social media and search engine optimization is not a bad option, he cautioned the importance of stepping back and thinking through where you’re trying to send users to with those advertisements or links.
“Think about the destination first. Where are you going to take these people?” Holtzclaw asked. “If you’re not bringing them to a physical store and they don’t want to talk to a salesperson, where are you going to take them that makes them stay and makes it interesting?”
Another tip from Holtzclaw: Make sure whatever landing page or website you direct users toward includes mixed media since audiences learn differently.
7. Market to existing customers
Often when leaders think about new marketing opportunities, they think about new markets and new audiences, but Kinney said one area to devote part of your marketing budget is toward existing customers.
“Make sure you’re driving the highest lifetime value possible with existing customers, that’s your most profitable source of revenue,” she said. “Until you’re maximizing the profitability and value of the customers you’ve already got, it’s a futile effort to go start throwing spaghetti at the wall at new markets, where you’re going to have lower profitability, lower conversion rates and lower success rates.”
8. Explore sponsorship opportunities
Live events are an often overlooked channel to spend marketing budgets. If you can get in front of the right people at the right events, it can yield great returns. The key is knowing who you’re targeting and providing them with relevant information.
Vistage offers a variety of sponsorship opportunities. Click here to learn more.