You know that feeling when you discover a $10 or a $20 dollar bill in your jeans pocket? Some of our clients experienced that in a big way this year, for a variety of reasons: farm shows and expo’s postponed; open houses and customer events cancelled; and sales visits and out-of-state meetings moved to Zoom. For many, 2020 budgets left a lot of money on the table.

So, in the spirit of collaboration, here are a few of the suggestions we shared with clients on where to put their “extra” marketing funds to get the most impact, listed from the broadest – and perhaps most challenging, but with the highest payback – down to more specific tactics that you could implement tomorrow.

Invest in Marketing Technology
Sally Krueger, Chief PR Strategist

If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that the digital- and mobile-first experiences are here to stay, and not just as “alternatives” to in-person tactics. Now is the perfect time to think about whether or not you have the marketing technology suite to support automated, personalized communication with your leads, prospects, and customers. With it, you an execute a powerhouse marketing communications engine that is efficient and engaging across numerous channels. Without it, it is nearly impossible to streamline marcomm messaging and delivery across paid, earned, and owned, or effectively measure marketing ROI and impact among those channels.

If you’re looking to adopt an efficient marcomm playbook that can support nurturing and acquiring prospective new customers as well as engaging existing customers, focus on what you can gain operationally and commercially from an integrated marketing technology and automation suite. It’s true that you may need to hire or support the tech you choose with talent to run and implement these tools longer term, but there are great partners out there who can help you assess what’s critical. And this doesn’t necessarily require added headcount to your internal marketing organization.

Weaponize your Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Karen Pfautsch, Chief Client Strategist

In theory, a CRM is a single system that manages all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers, helping you stay connected and providing insights on messaging or other tactics that improve engagement and profitability. The key word in that sentence is “single.” Unfortunately, most companies have multiple databases housed in different places and managed in functional silos. This makes it hard if not impossible to connect the dots in any meaningful way.

Channeling and streamlining customer data can drive both immediate and long-term benefits. With a shared CRM, employees not only have more information with which to make decisions, they have visibility into customer interactions from other groups, allowing them to work more efficiently together to create a focused and strategic customer experience. It helps to identify leads faster, including opportunities for upselling or additional sales. It also provides that “stickiness” with customers that we as marketers desire.

The first step toward a common and weaponized CRM is identifying the many, varied customer touchpoints that are routinely collected. This is often best conducted by an independent agency, although companies with excellent rapport between departments can often work together to collect the information necessary to begin repairing or replacing the system. It’s a fairly significant undertaking, but one that has been proven to pay for itself in short order.

Move from individual campaigns to an “always-on” approach
James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer

Most advertisers can be grouped into two categories: those who focus on maximum returns during a specific period, such as florists before Valentine’s Day, and those who look to create a constant flow – either a constant awareness or audience communication or sales leads, for example. If you’re in the former camp – and most companies are – now is a good time to explore tactics from an “always-on” perspective.

This doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. There will always be a need to run short, specific campaigns – to promote a sales event, or take advantage of a defined use-season for your products or services, for instance. But as you’re creating the components for a specific campaign, get a feel for your target market and make sure you’re gathering data that can be used in subsequent, ongoing efforts. Marketing automation and/or paid search, and content lead generation are tactics that can be implemented in a specific campaign, measured, tweaked, and continued after the specific campaign is completed. In short, use the time and money you’re spending now to make things easier for yourself – and more profitable – in the future.

Launch mobile messaging
Suzanna Caldwell-Bare, Senior Digital Strategic Manager

This could be a good opportunity to test out marketing products that you’ve shied away from previously. For instance, mobile messaging is still a relatively untapped digital offering. These typically see high response rates, but usually come with a high CPM to consider.

If you haven’t executed mobile much – or at all – start slow. Gain some experience by working with people who already have the relationships established, such as vendors or publishers. Use their expertise and learn from them while you start building your own database of customers and leads. Couple your mobile messaging test with an email marketing nurture campaign to build on the brand awareness.

Invest in Social Listening
Chandler Bruns, Social Media Manager

There’s a tool we use at Rooster to monitor Agriculture for our clients, and it provides some incredibly useful information. It’s like eavesdropping on conversations that your customers and potential customers are having about your company. What they like. What they don’t like. Comments about your competitors, and their products and services. Equally important, you can start to see who has an influential voice when it comes to your field – and who doesn’t. You can analyze all this information, in real-time if you want to, and use the insights to build better relationships and sell more of your products and services.

Test Connected TV
Pat Reese, Chief Media Strategist

Streaming content was a big deal before the pandemic. Now it’s an accepted way of life. And if you’re not taking advantage of CTV, this is a great time to start getting your message out to customers via their Smart TV, gaming console, or any device plugged into the TV that connects to the internet, such as ROKU.

CTV offers a host of advantages that you don’t get with traditional TV advertising, such as enhanced targeting. You can use your first- and third-party data to reach your most valuable prospects. You can control how often the desired audience sees your message. And, best of all, you get much better metrics than with traditional TV advertising.

Don’t forget about radio!
Ted Haller, Senior Media Strategist

Depending upon your market area and how big it is and the location(s), don’t forget traditional media. For instance, Ag Radio won the top daily usage medium in at least two studies for media usage in 2020.  While Ag Radio is solid throughout the Midwest, if your market area happens to be in the very best radio states of Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, or Nebraska, Ag Radio could really help your efforts.

Get a Second (or Third) Opinion
David Vincent, Director of Public Relations

The question of where to spend “extra money” reminds me of the old adage: if all one has is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. To think this way is just human nature, and we’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our careers.

Consider spending any “extra” money on a reputable marketing and/or communications consultant – a professional who can come in and take a very hard look at what you’re doing and whether it syncs with your objectives. And why you are doing things the way you do. Someone who is not emotionally or financially involved in your business. Someone who can be completely objective and will ask hard questions about what you are doing and why you are doing it. A disrupter who thinks outside of the very box so many businesses find themselves in. Think of it as therapy for your business. Chances are good you’ll come away with some valuable insights that will improve your professional health.

If you don’t already have an agency providing this counsel, or if you’re interested in pursuing this or any of the suggestions in this article, feel free to contact any of us. We’d love to start a conversation.