Question everything. Marketers who work with tight budgets must get comfortable with questioning the status quo.
In 1987, the CEO of American Airlines saved $40,000 a year by removing a single olive from each customer’s salad. Thirty years later, budget-strapped aerospace marketers can learn how to save money from that legendary aviation industry CEO.
Start by asking why.
Fast Company wrote about “The Importance of Creating a Culture of Why,” explaining that in many workplaces, “Why?” has become a stand-in for “I disagree.” When marketers fear creating conflict with co-workers, it can lead to “going along to get along,” which can result in bad spending decisions. Fast Company advises — and we agree — that we all need to reclaim “Why?” as a positive force in the workplace.
- Why should we place this ad?
- Why do we need to attend this event?
- Why are we printing so many brochures?
Tip: When you have clearly identified your target audience and have a complete understanding of your buyers and their behavior, it’s much easier to spend only on things that map to their needs and preferences. Build buyer personas as part of your marketing plan and bring this important information into focus. MarketingProfs created an excellent resource called “Beginners Guide to Creating Fleshed-Out Buyer Personas for B2B Inbound Marketing.”
Don’t get sidetracked.
Managing a tight budget requires focus that helps us avoid doing things for the wrong reasons (like to please a co-worker). Doing an ad, a show or printing brochures may be important, but asking the right questions can stop us from doing things for the wrong reasons.
- I don’t want conflict
- It’s a great deal/cheap
- Our competition is doing it
- We’ve always done it this way
Tip: Don’t spend your limited dollars on tactical experimentation, guesswork or assumptions — and don’t let anyone, even the most persuasive salesperson or colleague, convince you to do otherwise. Stay focused on goals and expected end results.
Keep asking questions, with a focus on outcomes.
If we are not tracking or evaluating results, and using what we learn to inform future spending decisions, we are shortchanging our employer and reinforcing the perception of marketing as a money pit.
- What exactly has this tactic accomplished for us in the past?
- How does this directly connect to our marketing strategy and goals?
- What is the expected outcome of doing or not doing this?
- How, specifically, will we measure success?
Tip: Successful aerospace marketers know that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a critical data source that can help understand customer trends and behavior while showing marketers which tactics are driving leads and sales. DART Aerospace worked with ForgeCRM, a system designed specifically for manufacturers, and GE Aviation uses Salesforce.
Other budget-friendly resources:
Trade shows and events are important and expensive. Before you commit to anything, carefully consider and evaluate what you’ll get for your investment. This checklist can help.
A marketing plan can help you make focused spending decisions that link to the bottom line. Download a step-by-step template here.