For decades now, marketing has been among the largest yearly costs lining the balance sheets of businesses around the world. Don’t believe me? Here is a short list of the total marketing dollars spent by some of the most influential businesses on earth for the year 2017.
– Comcast Corp $5.75 Billion (USD)
– AT&T $3.52 Billion (USD)
– Amazon $3.38 Billion (USD)
– General Motors $3.24 Billion (USD)
If you’re anything like me, looking at these numbers leaves you astounded, and frankly, a little intimidated.
The sheer amount of capital needed to create a brand, and cultivate a reliable customer base is hefty to say the least. As such, you should never have to question whether your marketing dollars are making a difference. This is what led me to write this blog. Whether you own a small business, run a private practice or work at a larger corporation, your marketing budget matters. I’m here to help you get the most out of it. I hope that at it’s conclusion, this article will leave you with a better understanding of where your marketing dollars should be going, and how their impact should be seen.
I wish I could say that after reading this blog you will have a comprehensive understanding of how to properly compete in today’s digital arena. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Just like the natural world we live in, our digital ecosystem is constantly changing. The simple fact that you are here reading this though, gives me every confidence that as the world changes, and the desires of your customers shift, you’ll come out on top… Let’s go.
Three Important Digital Marketing Expenses For 2021.
2. CRM & Automation Software
3. Search, Display, Banner Ads
Since the dawn of American business, nothing has been more important to a company’s success than its brand image. With the power to evoke emotion and spur desire within the hearts and minds of customers, having a solid brand image is non-negotiable.
The true power of branding can be seen when looking at some the world’s largest economic powerhouses. Here is a fun exercise which really hammers this point home. I want you (without checking the answers below) to name the brand that comes to your mind when looking at the following symbols:
If you’re anything like me, this was quite easy. In a matter of seconds, you are able to list these companies as: Target, Aflac, Apple and Pepsi Co, even though there isn’t one letter or word on any of them. Herein lies the power of branding.
Obviously companies like these have put billions of marketing dollars into branding over the course of their lifetimes. Because of this, they possess top of mind recognition almost instantaneously whenever a person encounters their symbols. It would be silly, of course, to expect this type of brand recognition immediately after taking your own brand to market, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dedicate yourself to it.
How to Brand?
The development of a clean, recognizable and succinct brand image for your business is incredibly important, especially in the beginning. This brand image is truly the stepping stone from which the rest of your marketing efforts will make their start. As such, laying a solid foundation will be key to the future success of your business. Like many other things, the term “branding” is a tree, housing a number of different branches. These “branding branches” as I like to call them, include but are not limited to:
- Brand Name
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Persona
Each of these aspects plays a different role in the overall success of your branding efforts. When used in tandem, these activities can enable the future success of your business as it continues to grow and thrive.
The Cost of Branding
Branding, like anything else, has a price. It is important to note however that you have a few different options on where to spend your money.
1. Outside Help
A popular way to insure that your brand is truly working for you is to use an outside marketing firm to design, position, and create your brand identity for you. For these kinds of services, which typically include: SEO, Website creation, Outbound marketing efforts, and logo creation, firms typically charge anywhere from $150 – $300 per hour for the work they do. Although this may seem like a steep fee, the payoff is found in the solidity of the service, and expertise, a marketing firm can provide. If you work with Phaser Marketing, we try and simplify everything for you. You pay a monthly fee that does not change based on the work we do! Growth, simplicity, creativity!
2. Just the Logo
If you want more control over the branding efforts of your business and don’t mind putting in the man hours to ensure its success, outsourcing the creation of your brand’s logo, and nothing else, may be the best option for you. In my experience, having a logo created in this manner can cost anywhere from $100 – $1300 dollars, depending on who you choose to partner with, and how much design work you’d like done.
3. Do It All
If you’re one of those people who likes to oversee every aspect of your business, I don’t blame you. In this case, you’ll need to create all of the facets of your brand in-house. Needless to say, this can be a daunting task. If you are up for the challenge that monitoring your brand’s success from its infancy onward brings, more power to you. You will find that by going this route you will gain a far better understanding of the impact your brand is making as you gain a deeper familiarity with your target market. However, you may find yourself wasting time trying to learn how to do everything that is involved in digital marketing.
CRM & Automation Software
Customer Relationship Management and Automation software systems are another massive marketing expense that cannot be overlooked. With the primary objectives of helping your business run smoothly, these software systems make their presence felt every hour of every day. For simplicity’s sake, let look at them individually.
Relationships, relationships, relationships. The life blood of business, the food of success. In this fast paced world, dedicated to appeasing the every whim of consumers, having a reliable Customer Relationship Management Software has never been more important. CRM’s hang their hat on their ability to safely, and neatly, organize information regarding the most important relationships to your business. Your relationships with your customers.
Lucky for you, many CRM software systems come with the added benefit of affordability. As your business grows and your needs expand, the price of your CRM will rise accordingly. You should expect that as you add new users and require new capabilities, your subscription price (usually billed monthly) will increase. Initially though, your CRM software will be well worth the price and you should expect to pay no more than $100 per month, especially if you have a smaller organization. For a comprehensive list and ranking of the top CRM tools please click here.
Marketing Automation software is exactly how it sounds: Automatic. In today’s digital age, interacting with your current and potential customers in a reliable, consistent, manner is incredibly important. With a great marketing automation software at your fingertips, you can engage with your customers regularly and reliably at the touch of a button.
Be it an: Email campaign, social post, text message, or web update, automation tools make connecting with your audience quick and easy. Luckily for you, a large majority of CRM systems come with marketing automation capabilities built-in. It is my recommendation that you use a CRM tool with these capabilities as this will make your life so much easier. A great place to start is to check out my personal favorite CRM and Automation tool: Hubspot. With a monthly fee range beginning at free (starter version) and arching all the way up to $3200 (Enterprise version) Hubspot has a product for businesses of every size. For this reason, I think that Hubspot is a great place to begin your journey into CRM and Marketing Automation.
Search, Display, Banner Ads
You know those annoying little ads that pop up in the margins of the websites you access and bombard the mobile apps you use? Those are Display, Search and Banner ads. This disruptive form of marketing has taken a firm hold of the digital world we operate in. The success of this outbound marketing strategy, especially when done correctly, cannot be denied. In fact, these types of ads, hosted on the Google Display Network, are an incredibly helpful tool for businesses of all sizes.
Where to start?
Once you have developed your brand image and a customer profile (discussed here) you will find that these types of ads are really helpful. Through the comprehensive targeting of your market using demographic, location, time of day, and many other filters, you can literally put your ads in front of EXACTLY who you want to see them. Although this process can be complex, it is important that you utilize this great tool as the payoff can be astronomical.
When it comes to these types of ads the cost is completely subjective and can be, essentially, broken down into these two categories:
Google Adwords, which you will be using to run these ads, is on its own, a free service. The price only comes into play once you place an ad. Users of Google Adwords are able to set a maximum daily budget denoting how much they’d like to spend running each campaign they place. As such, the amount of money you spend is really up to you.
It is important to note that the “daily budget” is allocated based on the performance indicator of your choosing, be it: per click, per conversion, or per impression. In the simplest terms, the more money you allocate, the more impressions you generate, the more people you get to click, the more conversions you walk away with.
The second piece of this Google Adwords process that really can add up is in the creation of the ads you’re planning to run. In a perfect world, Ads would automatically be generated for you and you wouldn’t have to give this a second thought. Unfortunately though, we do not live in a perfect world.
When running an ad on the Google Display Network you have the potential, depending on how much money you allocate and how wide of an audience you target, to reach millions of people in a matter of weeks. Because of this, it is important that you present your best self. Running a spotty and unkempt set of display ads is not at all recommended. You want spark intrigue within the people who see your ads. To do this properly means…. you guessed it, more design work.
You will need to create ads of varying sizes in order to fit them into Google’s pre-existing ad spaces and this can be time consuming. Depending on the route you go with the design of these ads (discussed above) your expenses will fluctuate. Please keep in mind that running quality ads goes a long way towards finding success with you Google Adwords efforts.
You’ve Got This!
Alas, there is certainly a lot to think about when it comes to making the most of your digital marketing efforts this year. I hope that this article has given you a bit of a deeper insight into what to expect from, and where to put, your marketing dollars in 2021. Please feel free to leave a comment below outlining any questions you may have. I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner! If you would like to read more, check out the rest of our blogs!,