It’s the week after US Thanksgiving which means it is now officially leftover season! Turkey salad. Turkey sandwiches and endless scoops of mashed potatoes. Having leftover Thanksgiving dinner isn’t too bad, but you definitely do not want to leave it lingering too long. There is nothing worse than having to throw out food that you could have eaten.
This is also the time of year when some Marketing Teams find themselves in the enviable position of having leftover budget. It’s a fantastic position to be in so congratulations if this is where you are! For those in smaller organizations, there is a chance you can take your surplus and carry it forward to next year. That is the best possible outcome. However, most Teams will not be able to do this, so they need to find a way to spend that money before it disappears like door-crashers do on Black Friday.
Although you may not be able to carry forward the actual dollars from this year into next, there are things you can do with the your surplus THIS YEAR than can benefit you NEXT YEAR. Here are 12 suggestions for quick wins that you can purchase with your leftover marketing budget that will help you and put your team in good standing with senior leadership.
1) Subscriptions and books. Whether it’s Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Brand Republic or AdWeek you and your team will benefit from keeping on top of the industry’s latest trends. Prefer something more longform? Then a set of books for the Marketing library is the answer. Stock up on classics like Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing or friend Dan Munro’s Casino Healthcare.
2) Analyst Report/Helpful Research. Find out more about your target market or get the inside scoop on your competitors by purchasing reports from Gartner, IDC or KLAS. There is a lot of helpful research out there that can help guide next year’s marketing programs.
3) Stock/Custom Photos. You can never have too many photos of smiling people using smartphones or groups of smiling people around a conference table. Now is the perfect time to add to refresh your stock photo library. Even better – hire a local photographer (students are great) and stage your own photos to guarantee uniqueness.
4) Professional Headshots. Selfies are great, but nothing compares to a well-lit, professionally taken headshot. Consider bringing a photographer and make-up artist to your office. It’s the perfect time to help your team look their best online.
5) LinkedIn upgrade. Once of the best investments you can make for you, your marketing team AND your sales team, is an upgraded LinkedIn account. Gain access to advanced search capabilities and more inMails with a LinkedIn Premium Account. Have even more money? Then try Sales Navigator and Premium Business. Take your social selling to a new level.
6) Short ad run. As the year winds down, people stop responding to email marketing. However, now is when people get the time to catch up on reading interesting articles they have saved throughout the year. Placing a banner ad on high traffic sites can help fill the top of your funnel for next year. (Note: I’m totally biased when I say that HealthcareScene.com would be a great place for you)
7) Advanced purchases. Everyone is trying to make year-end numbers so you may be able to negotiate a good deal for ads, dedicated emails, content, graphics, etc. for next year. Don’t be afraid to ask what your marketing partners can do for you given you are willing to pay TODAY.
8) Software utilities. There are likely a number of small utilities that can make you and your team more efficient. Image conversion programs, project tracking platforms and video editing tools are sometimes hard to justify during the year, but they fit nicely when you have leftover budget.
9) Computer accessories. I am convinced there are unseen video adaptor gremlins running around hoarding those cables. There may also be sprites that take presentation clickers. Mine always seem to go missing. Why not take advantage of all the sale prices and stock up on much needed computer accessories. Your team will thank you.
10) Voice work. Professional voice actors are often considered luxuries, but boy do they make a big difference. Consider hiring a voice actor to update your company’s automated phone attendant or refresh your motion graphics videos. Like #5 don’t forget to ask for an end-of-year deals.
11) Professional Development. When you have an unexpected surplus, this is one of the best ways you can invest it. Education and professional development often get overlooked in the rush of projects during the year. Take the time now to register for conferences, sign up for online courses or add a pre-conference session to an event you are already planning on attending. For a list of healthcare conferences, including our own HITMC18 and HITExpo18 events, check out this blog from John Lynn.
12) Internal Awards. This is my favorite. One of the biggest challenges for Marketers is getting other people in the organization to help with Marketing programs. It’s always a struggle to get client quotes, case study approval, social media amplification and proper documentation in the CRM/Marketing Automation Tool after conferences. With your surplus, consider holding an internal awards party with food and trophies (which are surprisingly cheap). At the party, publicly recognize people who have been most helpful to the Marketing Team. The praise and the trophies will encourage others to contribute. Here are some awards I have used in the past:
- Best Implementation that led to a case study
- Salesperson with the most referenced client
- Most on-time attendance at tradeshow booth
- Cleanest powerpoint
- Subject matter expert that contributed the most content/blogs
- Retweeter/Liker of the year
Don’t let even a few hundred dollars of marketing surplus go to waste. Take that leftover and carry it into next year by spending it smartly.