Lean Measures“In a McGraw-Hill study of 600 companies from 1980 to 1985, those that didn’t cut their marketing budgets during the 1981-82 recessions had significantly higher sales after the recession ended. In fact, they had sales that were 256% higher than those that aggressively chopped marketing expenditures.”

As the economy takes more turns faster than a roller coaster, most small businesses are struggling to find the best ways to save money. The first inclination of many small business owners is to completely cut out their marketing efforts. Instead of saving money, cutting marketing expenditures costs companies valuable sales, exposure in the marketplace, and brand recognition with potential clients.

With so many marketing dollars already invested, LEAN measures make the most of small business expenditures without compromising the value of investment or the benefits of a strong small business marketing campaign. Consider the LEAN routes when looking for ways to cut exposure costs to potential sales and customers:

Look for Co-Marketing Opportunities—Whether you are looking for exposure in a local or global market, connecting to other small businesses with products or services that are beneficial to your products and services can give you excellent co-marketing opportunities. By sending out special promotions to their customers and allowing them to contact your customer base, you are doubling your customer reach and exposure. Moreover, a larger advertising buy split between two companies brings less cost and higher ad placement.

Examine Every Marketing Dollar—Every company has marketing expenditures that renew monthly or yearly. So many companies pay for advertising or marketing efforts on an ongoing schedule; they don’t stop to add up those expenditures and where they could save money by buying in volume. From hosting to marketing services, most companies offer package deals or yearly buys that will save small businesses money.

Analyze the Marketing Fat—For every company, there is an incredible benefit in making a long list of marketing expenditures to account for every single penny spent in a year. By asking the question, “What is the ROI (return on investment)” for each item on the list, it is easy to prioritize what should stay in the budget and what is not carrying its marketing load. Furthermore, seek places where less expense can equal more opportunity. For example, replacing direct customer marketing with email marketing or electronic brochures delivered via a website will save thousands in print costs.

Negotiate Your Marketing Mileage—In marketing, advertising, and printing, there are two specific principles that will save money for small businesses. The first, volume buys, requires the business to commit to a certain length of publication or number of ads in order to get a greatly reduced price. The second, run points, notes the different number of prints for market collateral to receive a volume discount on the purchase price.

Often, it takes a measured reaction during tough economic times for small businesses to survive a slow financial forecast. When a downturn occurs due to a recession, the important focus for small businesses is on ways to LEAN down their marketing expenditures while maximizing or maintaining their current level of marketing activity. Employing each of these tactics will give additional income to the marketing budget and enhance the understanding of current marketing spending.

About the Author

Diana Bourgeois is a veteran social media networker, blogger, and marketer specializing in helping companies transition from traditional to social media marketing to gain exposure a larger audience.  A noted Social Media Marketing Expert and Contributing Writer for popular websites like Examiner.com and Suite101.com, Ms. Bourgeois is currently the owner of international marketing company Magic Marketing USA