By Haley Taylor
Our clients often come to us with limited budgets with which to spend on communication and marketing services. We get that. When I’m purchasing a car, I don’t just walk in and say, “I have unlimited funds, please take all you want!” Our agency can and does work within virtually any budget level to provide clients outstanding support.
While you may not have unlimited funds, you probably still need what a marketing communications agency partnership can bring, which can be anything from serving as an extension of your own team to get existing work done, to crafting research and strategy. Here are some tips for working with an agency while keeping an eye on your bottom line:
- Share the load. One way to balance your company’s needs within your budget is to have an internal client resource who can share the workload with us. If your company has a terrific writer, he/she can develop your overall messaging for a collateral piece, send it to us for editing and we can use it on an FAQ or promotional sell sheet, for example. If your company has a skilled design team, we can work with them to develop compelling pieces that reflect your company’s brand and tone. Sharing the workload can significantly reduce the costs associated with hiring an agency.
- Streamline approvals. Another way to keep your spending budget in check is to truly streamline the editing process. If we are developing a newsletter for your firm, agree to no more than two rounds of edits and invest the time to edit with a fine-toothed comb the first round so that the second round is merely tweaking the amazing content you have in front of you. We have occasionally seen six to ten rounds of edits when clients are less decisive on the messaging they want to communicate, and this time can really add up – both in delays to the timeline and unnecessary costs to the bottom line.
- Separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s an old saying that means, “Filter out what’s irrelevant, unnecessary or untrue. Focus on what’s needed.” It’s important for your agency to understand your industry, your challenges and what’s changing in your world. But if you’re working with a smaller budget, you’ll quickly find it eaten away if you supply the agency with volumes of reading material, lengthy background emails and multiple meetings. Have an internal meeting with your own team to agree on what your agency needs to know, and distill it. It will help your dollar go further.
- Prioritize the work. A final opportunity to get the most for your agency dollars is to time your agency’s work according to your budget. You may want a newsletter, an FAQ, revised branding, a new website, social media overhaul and new letterhead. Determine what your first priority is and space the remainder out over several months. Many times, we see clients who want more than what is feasible for their current budget – it is important that the timing of your communication initiatives fits with your overall financial goals and operations. Perhaps the website is the most critical improvement you want completed based on your operations. Let us work on that first, then we can work with your team to roll-out the remaining communications.
Every company can benefit from a robust communication team supporting them. Our team can work within your financial parameters and meet all of your communication needs – on time and on budget!