3 Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget


I recently had a conversation with a commercial real estate developer in the Norfolk, Virginia area about a few strategies that could boost the popularity of one of the local entertainment venues. We tossed around a few options and he asked the question on every businessman’s mind “how much is this going to cost me?”

The price of a service is always relative to the result that it produces. For example, if you spend $1,000 on marketing and it yields a $10,000 increase in profit, it would be a great use of your marketing dollars. Of course not every marketing strategy can yield a result like this, so it’s important to carefully choose where to spend your marketing budget. If you are small-medium size business or a non-profit, here are 3 ways to stretch your marketing budget:

Go all in on good strategies

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many marketers get caught up in something without taking a step back to look at what is working. If you are spending money on radio ads and Facebook ads, yet radio is drastically outperforming Facebook, your dollars are better used in radio. Marketers can become romantic about using a certain strategy or platform, and this is why you should regularly look at the numbers and double down on what is actually working.

Provide value to your audience

In his book YOUtility, Jay Baer explains that the most effective marketing strategy is “so useful that someone would actually pay for it”.  Your marketing pieces should provide so much value to your target audience that they can’t be ignored. Generally, value comes in two ways:



When the tech repair company Geek Squad first launched, a major part of their marketing strategy included a YouTube channel with countless videos on repairs and solutions to common tech problems. One day at a conference, someone asked founder, Robert Stephens about his strategy saying, “Let me get this straight Robert. You’re in the business of fixing things?” “yes” he nodded. “But yet, you have all these videos showing people how to fix things themselves. How does that make business sense?” “Well, our best customers are the people that think they can do it themselves. But even if they can, someday they’ll be over their head, and who will they call for help? We’re betting it’s the company whose logo they looked at for 8 minutes when we gave them free video help.”


The other end of the value coin is entertainment. In a world where advertising bombards us with constant requests to buy products and make donations, a well-timed joke, or great story can be a breath of fresh air. Social media channels (especially Instagram and Snapchat) are excellent ways to give entertainment to your audience. People go to these apps for entertainment and escapism, and connecting with them on an entertainment level can go a long way.  Additionally, when it comes to social media, posts that are entertaining and informative are much more likely to be shared. This means that your businesses message will go out to more people without spending the money on distribution.

Use the buddy system


 You may have thought the “buddy system” was only a safety procedure for swimmers. However, when it is used as a marketing tactic, it can yield great results! Partnering with local businesses can be am cost-effective way to get the word out about your product or service.  For example, if you own a local gym/fitness center, you should consider using the buddy system with a nearby health/supplements store. Partnering with them could mean offering discounts to their customers or placing a flyer in their lobby. The trick is to partner with businesses that don’t directly compete with you, but they still serve a similar clientele.

Overall, it takes some creativity and ingenuity to stretch your dollars in marketing. But, it is feasible with the above tips.