Don't Fly the Coop on your Advertising Budget, Just Get a Partner

Unfortunately the economy plays an enormous role in how much money we have to spend on marketing. We end up slashing marketing dollars, pulling out of our media resources and cutting our share of voice down to nothing. Our compeitiors are doing the same thing, however, without getting that creative masterpiece out in front of consumers – its not really doing you much good. Right? So ask me! DO IT! How do you overcome economic downturn on a small budget? I’m so glad that you asked.

Numero Uno: How about getting a partner?
Cooperative advertising is a system which divides costs between 2 or more parties. This works best with print or online since you can divide a full page into 2 halves or divide online impressions – but you can also branch out to TV and radio by splitting airtime. Usually media sales reps will give you a frequency discount if you run more than one time. You can also purchase a 60 second commercial and you and your new advertising buddy each produce a 30 second commercial and meld them together. You will have to discuss with the sales rep first, to make sure that their station/network/publication allows such cost saving tactics. It would be best to find a co-op partner that you each could benefit from and that also is targeting the same demographic. For example: if you are a furniture store, find an interior designer partner. If you are a hotel, what about a restaurant or attraction? If you are a retail women’s clothing store – what about a salon? Pet groomer – dog walker? The partnerships are limitless and your advertising dollars just doubled.

Numero Dos: Did you say Guerilla?
I dare you to get up from your desk. Walk outside and look around. Look up. Look down. What do you see. Trees? Sidewalk? Cars? Benches? What about the places that you visit every day? All great places to broadcast your brand. Make sure that you get permission from your city first, unless you don’t mind a minor (yikes) ticket for destruction of public property. Ill give you a few ideas on how to make guerilla work for cheap:
1. Hair Salons – hire a landscaper to trim some trees/ bushes in a local park into fancy shapes. Make sure that you put some signage nearby that you were responsible for the trim.
2. Hotel – Partner (see Im taking my own advice from numero uno) with a local furniture retailer and set up a “hotel room” in a local market in a busy area. Ask them to experience your hotel room. Include signage and maybe some brochures.
3. Powerwash your logo or message into the sidewalks around / near your business. Don’t want to rent a powerwasher? Then sidewalk chalk it.
4. Utilize existing outdoor locations – one tweak to someone elses outdoor campaign can really make an impression. For example – if you are a weight loss clinic – have some removable stickers printed and paste them on bus shelters with skinny models. If you really want to look like this woman (we all do) then you will call. Hopefully AdAge, MediaWeek , or your local newspaper will find your media tactics mucho impressive – take photos and broadcast your guerilla tactic on the internet gaining you and the advertiser that you defaced some free publicity.

Numero Tres: Past customers are your best customers
Use your exisiting database to contact old customers and send them a handwritten letter, personalized email, maybe a friendly phone call. (Please say that you have an existing database. If not, you really need call us immediatley –843-916-2000.) When you contact your customers, ask them about the product you sold them. Ask them if you can be of any assistance. Heck, ask them to come on in for a customer appreciation event and bring a friend! Your goal is to be front of mind, and if you can get them and a friend into the store – BRAVO. If you want to expand on your customer appreciation extravanganza – call up your local radio station and have them bring talent in. A radio remote will run you a couple of hundred depending on the market– and they may want you to run a schedule. For the low, low cost of 1 Grover Cleveland ($1000 bill) – you can have a pretty swell shindig and hopefully sell some stuff.

Ok – so I just gave you three ways to vamp up your business without breaking the budget, Ive spoken some Spanish, and you’ve learned that our 22nd and 24th President of the US is on the $1,000 bill. The main point is, you need some advertising weight in the marketplace or else your competitors are going to run over you. Don’t cut every dollar, just be saavy. Start with these three ideas above and expand. And when the economy picks up again – you won’t have to spend so much to revamp your brand.