Jayne Ferrer, VantagePoint PR Specialist
The city of Ledbury, England (hometown of poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Masefield, in case you’re interested) has a problem. Facing a serious shortage of cash, they’re having to decide which is more important to their fair city: Christmas lights, hanging baskets, or public toilets.
Okay, so at face value, this may sound funny but, in reality, it’s a serious decision. Which of these three things is going to have the greatest impact on Ledbury’s day to day life? Its tourism dollarsâ€¦er, pounds? Its long-term growth? Its public persona?
This is the sort of decision businesses face every day when grappling with how to spend their marketing budget, because there is no right answer. Is a full page ad in key trade publications going to provide the best ROI or is a booth at next year’s trade show the better option? Will implementing a strong social media presence do more for your bottom line than a new online catalog? Should you focus on product development or product awareness?
Studying past results and trend predictions might give you some insights into the best use of your marketing dollars. For instance, digital is hot right now; according to one survey, nearly 30% of B2B companies expect to increase their digital advertising expenditures by 10-19% in 2014. But how do you know if digital advertising will pay off for you? What if your customer base responds better to a steady stream of old-fashioned (really? it’s already passÃ©?) e-mail blasts?
And what about pay-per-click, SEO, banner ads, Facebook ads, billboards, radio, TV, cable, QR codes, not to mention those old standbys — your local high school yearbook, your child’s Little League t-shirt, or your favorite nonprofit sponsorship opportunity?
In Ledbury’s case, the town council has decided to hold a referendum and ask the citizens to vote on which option to implement — a politically correct decision, for sure, but not a choice available to most privately owned companies. Unfortunately, determining the best allocation of your marketing dollars is not a task you can shift to someone else.
If you’d like some assistance in assessing your marketing strategies for 2014, give us a call here at VantagePoint. We’d be glad to make some recommendations and suggest some tools that might be helpful.
And we’ll keep you posted on what the good folk of Ledbury decide!