You’ve found yourself at the end of your fiscal year with a big problem you weren’t really anticipating throughout the entire year, but that remains a problem nonetheless.
Maybe a project fell through? Maybe budgets adjusted because of good company performance, or other resources were allocated to your team.
Regardless, the fact remains that you have some leftover marketing budget. The good thing about this issue is that now you have more resources to work with toward your marketing efforts. The bad thing is that you’ve got a very limited time in which to use this budget, after which it may not be allocated again next year.
Let’s look at 14 innovative and savvy ways to spend your additional marketing budget.
First and foremost, the content question requires an answer. If your queue of content is looking a little bit light, perhaps it might be time to invest some of your extra budget in ensuring that you’ll be publishing content on your site’s blog for months to come. It’s not an expensive line item and it looks incredibly impressive to have custom (and organic and dynamic) content on your site.
Promote That Content
All the social media platforms are doing it these days as an alternative to traditional marketing. Promoted content appears in-line with other social media content. This integrates the advertising experience within the established user interface and doesn’t require them to look in a dedicated advertising area of the social media platform. Promoted or sponsored content is a great way to get noticed.
Going one step further than generating content in-house or promoting social media content, maybe it’s time to take some of that excess budget and invest it, not in generating content for the company, but in generating reputation. Entire blogging communities exist who are for hire to the right advertiser match. Hired bloggers will create buzz without your company’s name attached to the byline.
This one is scalable. Upgrade your office’s internal profile by purchasing some (probably) much-needed infrastructure. This can mean anything, and anything helps, as long as it’s purchased intelligently. Could be time for new and faster CD burners, comfy office chairs, a second monitor for all employees, or a redesigned floor plan aimed at better productivity.
How do you manage files, either internally or externally? Once you’ve got a bit of extra money it may be time to take a look at whether your electronic infrastructure is up to snuff. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a collaborative writing software suite or a document management system. Or externally focusing your interests could be a redesign of your company’s website.
Extra budgets are great for ensuring your staff has the equipment it needs to work smarter on the go. Does each member of the staff have an updated smartphone? Are those smartphones paid for by the company? If all those questions are answered with a yes already, then maybe it’s time to think about developing or investing in an app for those phones.
Some New Market Research
You spend all year investing your marketing budget in reaching out to customers, but when was the last time you looked into what the market really wanted? Or, better yet, when was the last time you had an outside, impartial firm look into your target audience? Take some of your excess budget and put it into new market research that can drive your decision-making for years to come.
There are so many logistical things a marketing department can do to better prepare itself for eventualities or the unforeseen. Backup batteries, office supplies, off-site data storage, records retention – the list goes on and on, and each item in the list enhances and facilitates the work done by the marketing team.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and lots of pictures are worth lots of words. Photography and photographers are more affordable than ever before in any area. Take that money and hire a photographer for some new staff headshots, formal product or office photographs, or stock photography. All can be used for a variety of purposes in the future.
Your staff may be hampered and less than ideally productive without even realizing it. Using older versions of software packages, like Adobe or Microsoft Office, can seem familiar and adequate, and often are. But it’s equally likely that spending a bit of extra money to invest in updated software solutions may be the key needed to unlock new levels of creativity.
Sock some of that money away for a different sort of use. Extra budget could be spent on developing a merit- and performance-based incentive program for your employees centered around an end-of-year bonus that rewarded employees for jobs well done.
Develop Your Staff Part 1: Education
Continuing education continues throughout our lives. With a little extra money, your company might be in a good position to target some (or all if you’re lucky) employees for further educational opportunities. This can go well beyond the traditional classroom and can extend to professional organizations and certifications.
Develop Your Staff Part 2: Conferences
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but inspiration can come far easier when surrounded by like-minded peers. Invest some of your excess budget into creating an experience for your employees by sending them to educational and enriching conferences designed to equip them to meet challenges and innovate.
The community itself is always in need of funds and is a great place to donate any unallocated funds. The opportunities are numerous, whether your company provides a purely monetary donation, a matching grant for volunteer hours, or a donation in kind of goods. Not only is service a reward in itself, but it also enhances your company’s image, and events bring employees together in ways that no work function ever could.
That’s it. You should have some idea by now of how to spend that extra marketing budget, or if not, we’ve at least put you in the right direction. Finding additional unallocated marketing resources is a good problem to have!