When I ask clients what they want from their marketing spend, I hear: “I want my business to become a brand people will remember.”
Small business owners want to see their business grow, reach more users, and serve more customers in their own unique and distinctive way. But, I’ve noticed they’re often not so vigilant about where they spend their marketing dollars, and how to spend them first.
Laying the Groundwork with Brand Strategy
To drive results, we believe brands must build trust and engagement. This is done by allocating the right resources to publish high-value content, improve the user experience, and boost engagement. Yet, with so many marketing channels, it can be difficult to create a marketing roadmap that ensures every penny is well spent.
That's precisely why we believe that brand strategy is essential to the efficient allocation of your current resources--and ultimately for building your brand.
The Role of Brand Strategy in Resource Allocation
Whether you’re a big or small business, every promotion you launch impacts your brand. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paid social marketing campaign, a holiday sale, or an SMS message—everything contributes to your overall brand image, positively or negatively.
So, everything you do should align with your business goals.
The problem is, small businesses fear wasting valuable resources. They're not convinced their marketing investment will help them generate desired ROI. It’s understandable, because you can waste a lot of time and money without a solid marketing plan.
With an appropriate brand strategy, we believe these fears can be eased. It will:
- help you formulate a roadmap of success for your business
- take into account the resources you need
- allow for reasonable timetables towards your goals
To be clear, a robust marketing strategy is not merely a set of deliverables and tasks that sales and marketing teams need to fulfill. Rather, an effective brand strategy should encapsulate what will drive success for your business and frame what you need to succeed.
Once you have established your long-term priorities, you can allocate marketing spend to campaigns and promotions that will help you achieve your short-term goals, as well as your overarching goals. Only when you have defined a clear set of goals can you efficiently allocate resources and get to where you want to be.
The Small Business Advantage
In reality, resource allocation is easier said than done for small business owners. The first step to cost-efficient spending is to consider the assets you already have in your marketing arsenal.
Sounds obvious? It’s remarkable how not-obvious it can be when you’re fully focused on growth.
These assets may fall into any of these well-known categories:
- Owned: website content, brand collateral, reputation or legacy
- Earned: organic traffic from SEO and social, social media, followship, publicity, or press
- Paid: traditional + digital advertising including paid social media, paid sponsorships, pay-per-click digital
“We believe brands must build trust and engagement.”
If you’re starting with minimum capital, a smart way to allocate resources is to focus on owned media--then look at what you’ve earned. Once these marketing essentials are in place, that’s when you put money into paid media strategies.
Here’s how this might play out in real life:
- Start with what you have: something to give away. That’s your owned media.
- Earn the love by offering it up via social channels and on your site.
- Nurture your earned affection with more content-that-gives.
- Then you can direct those incremental resources to paid channels for more reach.
In short, focus on improving the assets you already have and then launch promotional campaigns that can help you achieve organic growth or build a following. Upon building a strong community of brand advocates, you will likely have the resources to invest in paid media content--which can be costly but will contribute to the growth of your business.
Prioritize Your Brand Strategy
Smart resource allocation has to answer to your brand strategy, so you need to build that first.
Much like training for a marathon, this process takes time. But, consistency and patience are key. Similar to having a consistent marketing strategy, a regular diet and training can help achieve your bigger goal of completing the race.
As you create more campaigns, your brand will become more recognizable, and you’ll eventually reap the benefits of your persistence and hard work. If you need some guidance on prioritizing brand strategy and resource allocation, join our Strategy Lab for Small Businesses.