Seven Ways To Maximize Your “Use It Or Lose It” Budget
As the end of the year draws near, you may have found yourself in the proverbial “use it or lose it” position with your budgets. There’s a little money left in your budget that needs to be spent by year’s end or you may not get those dollars back in the next budget cycle. It’s actually not an uncommon place to find yourself and even more likely with this “pause and pivot” kind of year we’ve all had. But what do you have enough time and budget to do?
We all have our list: the “let’s tackle this later, but never actually get around to doing it” kind of things. This is a good time to revisit those, or chances are there is also work you can get started on for next year. Now is your opportunity to rethink the why—and the how—to get things done.
We all have our list: the “let’s tackle this later, but never actually get around to doing it” kind of things. This is a good time to revisit those.
Need some inspiration? Here are seven ways to maximize an unplanned, end-of-year spend.
1. Invest In Virtual
The pandemic has forced everyone to reassess communication channels. When done right, online events, product launches, training, and conferences can be less expensive and remain effective in surprising ways. Moving to a virtual space can provide a scalable and cost-effective solution while also providing creative and customized engagements that allow you to stay connected and relevant to your audience. Virtual events can be streamed live, viewed on-demand, or released as podcasts and other online formats—all while giving you some pretty powerful real-time analytics. Whether the purpose is entertainment or engagement, the possibilities are endless.
2. It’s Great To Automate
Take a moment to think about how your marketing campaigns are executed. Any gaps or pain points? Were there challenges keeping track of multiple projects and initiatives, or issues targeting the right customer with the right messages across multiple platforms? Consider investing your remaining budget in a marketing productivity or project management platform that will help your future marketing run smoother. You’ll be amazed by what marketing automation can do for your business by managing marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically. If you already use a marketing automation platform, now is a great time to refresh.
3. Freshen Up Your Web Presence
When was the last time you dug into the web analytics on your website? You make changes and updates to your website throughout the year, but how do you know you made the right decisions if you’re not analyzing the impacts? Year-end can be a great time to get a professional evaluation.
• How is the site performing?
• Is the site optimized the right way and really working for you?
• Who is the audience and are you taking them on the right journey?
• Have you done an SEO evaluation?
Once you have that evaluation, you will find ways to improve the user experience for your customers and as well as content relevance. You may decide to simplify your navigation and wayfinding. Or you could invest in refreshing content by culling or updating blogs, adding testimonials or case studies, or adding video content to your site.
4. Make An Influence
An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity. Anyone that has an audience or following also has the ability to affect a purchase, because trusted third-party recommendations are powerful. Explore some relationships with influencers in your industry. But remember, it needs to be genuine and not overproduced to be persuasive. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this one.
5. Do Your Research
Data is king, but are you armed with the insight to make it a powerful tool? You might have all of the back-end analytics in the world, but what does it all really mean and how should you leverage it? Year-end can be a great time to conduct some fresh research and/or focus groups. Look at your competitive landscape; everyone had to shift their game plan this year and there is no way to predict what next year will bring. It’s a really good idea to get an industry and audience gut check.
6. Show Off The Highlights
We’re not always great about sharing our successes, and if we do, it’s often a quick shout-out and everyone moves on. Consider creating some kind of year-end asset that can be multipurpose. The right piece will not only highlight your areas of expertise for business development purposes, but it will also serve as a great way to rally the internal teams and celebrate everything they have accomplished.
• Short video or slideshow (placed on your site and used for social media)
• Digital lookbook
• Host a podcast
7. Give Thanks
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to only land on the fourth Thursday of November. This year has proven to be extraordinary in too many ways to count. The resilience, adaptability, and focus that your team was able to deliver in remarkable fashion deserves gratitude. Everyone has gone above and beyond this year, and finding a way to recognize that is important. This is a perfect opportunity to test the waters in the virtual event space and demonstrate the endless compelling possibilities for brand and employee engagement.
These are just a few of the oh-so-many ways to spend your remaining budget with intention. If you have some other savvy ideas or would like to talk about possibilities, we can help you do something great!