If you are like many other small business owners, the uncertainty that comes with most marketing investment will often deter you from spending your monies in expensive campaigns. Yes, social media and content marketing are pretty hot new ways to get your name out there at a minimal cost but they still require time and knowledge to get you the customers you need. So, as juvenile as it may sound, piggy backing (or budding up) your advertising could very well get you on your way to reduce escalating advertising costs.
How do you go about piggy backing your advertising costs?
You can piggy back your own printed material or you can piggy back on other marketers´ campaigns.
Piggy back your own material
Piggy backing yourself simply requires you to include your printed advertising material in other mailings you send routinely like invoices – it will save you postage, paper and printing costs.
You can also make the most of your point-of-purchase opportunities by tucking coupons, newsletters or other promotional fliers in the bag with customers’ purchases.
Share the spotlight
How? Start simple. Split advertising and promotion costs with neighbouring businesses or cross-promoting in social media channels. You can begin your marketing alliance one step at a time, perhaps jointly promoting a sidewalk sale, or sharing mailing lists, distribution channels and suppliers with businesses that sell complementary goods or services.
Take AssociaDirect Inc., a company providing marketing tools to help business and organizations reach new members. The team at AssociaDirect sent out more than 2,000 direct mailings to potential customers advertising a new marketing application for mobile phones. The total cost: $3,700 . However, by splitting the cost of the mail out with the mobile technology company that helped them create the application, AssociaDirect saves half the cost.
Or consider the classic case of Birds Barbershop, the happy Austin barber who split the costs of an advertising campaign with Lone Star Beer. Published in local print and online media, the ad pictures a jovial customer showing off his new hair cut while holding a can of Lone Star beer in his hand. The brewer had already been supplying the four barbershops owned by Birds since 20066 at a discount price. So when the time came to take a step further, Lone Star was willing to split the cost of the ads. Both businesses knew the synergy they had worked and were eager to explore other piggy backing avenues.
Piggy back with caution
But piggy backing, like everything, is not without risks. A lot of a piggybacking strategy success depends on the actual ad campaign. There always an inherent danger involved in buying into a campaign that has someone´s imprint all over, particularly if it has not started yet and you are unsure what kind of reaction will stimulate. However, in the words of Omar Tawakol, CMO of Revenue Science, “the more valuable the [advertised site’s] brand is in the consumers’ minds, the more value it will have for advertisers who want to be associated with it.”
Dave Morgan, chairman of Tacoda, agrees with this notion – ¨advertisers like to be working with folks with momentum. Running trade campaigns signify momentum, if done well¨.
But before you get involved with another company, you might want to consider some of the possible deterrents:
Piggybacking strategies could potentially dilute your intended target audience by bringing in new demographics that are not relevant to you.
Budding up with another company can also cause a certain confusion among consumers – If you’re sharing the cost of a rotating billboard, for instance, audiences can separate the messaging intended by the two advertisers but if you are combining both messages and tell your customers that if you like this product as a consequence you like the other product you need to make sure your message is neat and does not cause consumers to mix the benefits for them.
These and other different issues that have the potential to develop during the course of the campaign could take you down a rocky path where egos blow up end up exchanging more than is desired. Put that aside and aim for measurable results at a fraction of the usual advertising cost. That is what you should aim for. In this type of business environment, every little bit counts, so, why not try making piggy backing work for you?