As a fractional CMO, a quick win when starting a new engagement is to look at how efficiently the company is utilising its marketing investment. With the new year just around the corner, it's a great time to spring-clean your marketing budget and identify areas where you can save money without sacrificing results. Here are the spend areas where I regularly uncover immediate opportunities for ‘pruning’:
Are you using different tools for essentially the same task? For example, are you maintaining more than one CRM, or do you have multiple email tools? Is there functionality that you’re not using within a tool or service in preference for a separate solution - for instance, do you need a standalone quiz/feedback tool when you could use Google Forms that you’re already paying for? Take a close look at your marketing stack and identify any areas where you can consolidate.
Are you using "Enterprise-grade" services and tools when you're not ready for them and don't need that level of sophistication just yet? If you're a small or medium-sized business, there are plenty of affordable and effective marketing solutions available, many even for free, that will be adequate for your needs without breaking the bank for a platinum-class service.
Are you still subscribed to services that you don't use anymore? Or are you using only a fraction of the features that they offer? Cancel any unused subscriptions and downgrade to lower-tier plans if possible.
4. Number of seats
Have you noticed a creep in the number of licenses you have for software? Make sure you're only paying for the seats that you need.
5. Agency fees
Another area to look at is agency fees. If you're working with multiple agencies, make sure you're getting value for money. Are you paying for services that you could do in-house? Are you getting clear and regular reporting on your campaigns? Many agencies get tired and lazy over time so it’s good practice to review on a consistent basis to ensure that you’re seeing a meaningful return.
6. Frivolous spending
Are there any marketing expenses that are nice to have but not essential? These could include things like expensive trade shows, sponsorships, and swag. Take a critical look at your budget and cut back on any unnecessary spending.
Don't forget to factor in the cost of your team's time. If you're running a lot of manual marketing campaigns, consider automating some of the tasks. This can free up your team to focus on more strategic and value-add work.
By reviewing and cutting your marketing costs, you can free up budget to invest in other areas of your business. This could include hiring new staff or developing new campaigns and programmes to accelerate growth.