Dive In Headfirst or Get out of the Pool: Why Marketing Needs an ‘All-in’ Approach.

Businesses sometimes like to dip a toe at a time into marketing. Unsure of how much to spend and where to spend it, these owners choose to start slowly. But that’s where they go wrong because it takes an “all-in” commitment to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

The importance of marketing efforts, however, is clear to some groups — like CEOs. A recent Gartner survey found that more than half of the CEOs it surveyed planned to increase their marketing budgets in the subsequent year. And nearly two-thirds of chief marketing officers expected their budgets to rise in 2019.

The caveat here is that not all companies can afford to spend big when they’re starting out. And they shouldn’t. There are other ways to show a commitment to selling a brand. Companies have more options, like guerrilla marketing campaigns, which are still viable even in this age of tech giants.

Still, there’s an end game here: Once the team’s time becomes more valuable than the money it’s putting in the company bank account, it’s time to flip the switch. That’s the time to commit to advertising in a way from which you can learn what works and reach your clients. Companies that go all-in are the ones that find success.

1. Try guerrilla tactics
Not ready to make a full monetary commitment? Rather than make a few small investments, don’t commit any money at all. Those little drops in the bucket won’t do much to help your company, but the strain those drops put on your budget could do a lot to hurt it.

Focus on what the company can accomplish with the time and skills of the people who already work there. That could mean you literally hitting the streets. It could mean demonstrations. It could mean trying the guerrilla side of marketing when you’re trying to make things go viral. You could be calling publications and trying to get whatever you can for free.

Such low-budget or no-budget campaigns are the best option for every small business that hasn’t yet turned the corner toward higher revenue.

Example? Dropbox didn’t spend a dime when it offered 500 MB of extra storage to customers who referred their friends. That tactic helped the company gain market share without ad spend, allowing it to become the storage giant it is today.

2. Spend enough on advertising to pinpoint where you are finding success.
Startups are all about taking smart risks. Instead of leaning on limited test information and using that as the basis for a larger strategy, look at available marketing options and jump right in.

Unless you’re spending a lot of money, say $5,000 a month for three months on Facebook, it doesn’t make sense to start advertising. Chances are you’re just going to waste that money because you can’t run enough variables to see where you’re being successful.

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