5 Steps to Reducing Marketing Program Costs
All too often, a simple question just isn’t that simple, and that is right about where I stand on reducing program costs.
Many organizations inadvertently incentivize their own people to make bad program activities cost less! There is a more compelling approach to budget creation and subsequent spending. We believe that it’s where you spend your time that helps you save money, and done properly, the effort will also expand opportunity within your organization.
STEP 1: Project & Program Clarity
Branded Environments are first and foremost spaces and places that affectively maximize brand experience in a way that is both measured and deliberate. Specific activities typically follow a vision for the entire experience but there are always circumstances that can influence cost.
• Square footage – the size and scope of the environment
• Location – temporary or permanent?, …next door or over seas?
• Timing – Where there is no time, you often need more money
• Material expectations – functional or memorable
• Usage & Durability – Expected fixed life, or expected tour life
STEP 2: Get It All In The First Time
One way to gain laser-like precision with respect to project costs is through a comprehensive consultative design process. This activity systematically incorporates high value brand and experience requirements across an entire project, without sacrificing functionality and facility compliance. Here is where all stakeholders leverage their specific disciplines to influence the inclusion of critical program activities that will drive success for their teams. Whether from finance, sales, marketing or product management, every member of the team has a stake in the successful Branded Environment.
STEP 3: Get Them To Buy In
Present solutions in a way that will support as many members of your team as possible, across a wide range of metrics, and you’re on your way to a high ROI.
This is starting to sound like work, but you will soon find that your team will see themselves within your program and you will spend less time defending your decisions.
STEP 4: A Service Relationship Requires Participants
This is where we all get comfortable with 24/7 communication and keep our eye on the prize. Our team knows that “Everything” matters when you are in the business of creating spaces and places that are completely about a client’s brand. The Branded Environment, to us, is a living and breathing thing that requires the ongoing activation of critical team members and resources toward specific phases of the project or program. We want you to communicate your thoughts and expectations, when you have them, so that we can maximize flexibility within our process and systems. This is often the point in our client relationship where you begin to see Our People Become Your People™.
STEP 5: The Low Hanging Fruit
We have all experienced cost savings 101, only to be reminded that each and every situation is different. So, you don’t need me to tell you to take a look at your most expensive costs and consider alternatives that might save you money. However, the apples to apples rule usually applies here. It’s not always possible to commoditize every sub component cost of your program without beginning to eliminate other benefits associated with a given provider. My suggestion is to think bigger.
Shipping Costs: Look at all of your shipping activities, and find ways to consolidate those activities to leverage efficiencies that will free up time, and save money. This might require some behavior changes within your team.
Drayage Costs: Sort of a “Pay to Play” component of the B2B exhibit environment, however, these can be impacted from the space booking activity, right through to exhibit design, freight handling and install planning.
Service Costs: What, where, when & why all services are arranged is the key to the highest performance here, but State to State, you may have to live with cost differences.
In closing, the larger your program relationship is with your provider, the greater the savings. Know what size client you are for anyone that you do business with. Yup, another rule here, and if you’re on the right side of 80/20, then you can certainly leverage your position with vendor partners. You will have a much more productive discussion with your partners if you communicate a gross savings target goal on the entire program vs. trying to find out how to save 3K on shipping from Chicago to San Diego.