9 agile ways to use up spare marketing budget before year-end
So you’ve been ultra-careful with your marketing budget all year – well done, you! The downside is you’re about to become a victim of your own success when your boss looks at next year’s allocation, so how can you use up your slush fund to maximum effect and keep your figures on track? It can be done! Here are nine agile ways to use up spare marketing budget in a hurry – you can thank us later...
1. Get some extra content in the bag
We all know what it’s like when Christmas comes – nobody’s around in the office to create any new blog posts, but your customers have extra time to do some reading at home with their feet up. Planning in some fun Christmas content and positive New Year blogs that you can preschedule is a great way to use up spare budget and connect with your key audiences while they’re feeling relaxed and receptive.
Remember to keep it light – after all, you want to provide a pleasant few minutes’ escapism from festive family overload, not the content equivalent of the obligatory Christmas walk (fumbling for change in an overpriced National Trust car park followed by a heavy trudge down an over-crowded waterlogged path with no mobile signal). Reviews of the trends and highs and lows of the year, and predictions for the year ahead are obvious choices, but you could even consider a long-read or two to share ideas for new approaches to old problems or do a deep dive into an industry issue.
2. Boost your digital campaigns with PPC and social ads
Devote a little time to measuring how your campaigns are currently performing (or get your digital agency on the case), and you’re bound to spot some opportunities to boost social posts and create ads. Which products or services have performed best this year? Giving them extra attention now may even bring some new business over the line before the end of the quarter.
3. Review your marketing tool subscriptions
These days there’s a tool for pretty much everything, from proofreading and internal comms to social media posting, performance measurement, report generation, document creation, photo and video editing and more. Now’s the time to review the tools you already use, spot the gaps, upgrade and add in new tech that can help your team work smarter. Perhaps it's time to upgrade your CRM, and who doesn’t love a new app on their phone? Tip: try to include at least one new tool that your boss will love to show off to the rest of the C-Suite – you know how much they like to feel disruptive.
4. Build your personas
If you haven’t done any persona work yet (creating fictional representations of your key customer types), jump on it! You can outsource this work to make it happen quickly if you need to, which will put you in pole position for using your personas to inform next year’s marketing strategy. Personas are invaluable for creating everything from campaigns to content, helping to bring your customers’ wants, needs and goals to life.
5. Shoot some video
Getting some fresh video content done doesn’t have to be a complex, all-encompassing project. While you might just about have the time to fit in filming a full-scale corporate video, if you’re busy the chances are it’ll make more sense to get some B-roll footage done that you can have at the ready to cut into future video projects – incidental footage taken around the building showing what happens day to day will always come in handy (shooting inside rather than outside makes sense at this time of year). While you’re at it, why not get a few interviews with key people done at the same time for some shareable content? Find a good videographer and see if they can fit you in before year-end!
If you’d like to start creating more homegrown video content with your team – perfect for social media – why not use some spare budget on the kit you need to shoot your own material in-house? A video studio needn’t cost the earth. You’ll need lights, a decent smartphone tripod, a DSLR camera with tripod if you can stretch to it, a backdrop and a good-quality microphone – all sound investments.
6. Book some training
Yes, those last couple of weeks before Christmas are usually Manic with a capital M, so why not treat your team to a really good training course to look forward to in the New Year? Not only will they feel appreciated, but you’ll all feel invigorated by learning new skills and honing existing ones. If you book now, you may well be able to negotiate preferential rates to boost your training provider’s end-of-year figures, so don’t be afraid to haggle.
7. Invest in reading matter
Keeping personal development front of mind, when was the last time you bought some inspirational books to share with the team? Ordering a few best-sellers by industry leaders in your sector will benefit everyone and use up some of that spare money. If you’ve ditched any of your annual subscriptions to industry news sites and mags in the past, now could also be the time to renew them so that everyone can keep up to date.
8. Hold an event
Whether or not you have the will or the time to pull together a seminar, social event or roundtable from start to finish right now, you can sort out a venue and hold a date with a deposit relatively easily. Look at the events in your marketing plan for next year and see if it makes sense to bring forward your venue search so you can take some of the cost of the venue out of this year’s budget.
9. Upgrade the Christmas party*
After the pandemic, the events hiatus is thankfully over (fingers crossed) and F2F is back on! If you’re still scratching around trying to use up that last bit of budget, why not add some extra sparkle to the Christmas party with welcome drinks, some small gifts or even party bags?
If you need a hand with some emergency marketing shopping, Pavement Radio loves a bit of B2B retail therapy – just get in touch and see how we can help! And you can get some tips on how to secure more marketing budget in our blog post 10 Tactics to Get Board Buy-In for More Marketing Budget.