Every business has different marketing goals and resources to make them a reality. The purpose of this blog post is to help you focus on big picture strategies that can make a difference in the New Year.

One of our favorite personalities in the tech world is Mary Meeker.  Her annual “Internet Trends” report is one of many reasons she is credited with having a deep understanding of what makes businesses succeed and fail.  The majority of her career has been spent discovering and understanding emerging technology trends, so it makes sense to us that her most recent report also serves as a guideline for your 2015 marketing budget.

Do’s and Don’ts For Your 2015 Marketing Budget

DO: Increase Spending On Mobile and Internet Advertising
DON’T: Invest In TV and Print

Why should you invest your time, money, and energy into channels that don’t drive results for your business?

2015 Marketing Budget Internet Trends

Slides designed by Emiland De Cubber from Mary Meekers 2014 Internet Trends Report

In 2013, consumers spent 20% of their time on mobile, yet businesses only spent 4% of their budget trying to reach audiences through that channel.  Meanwhile, a combined 64% of ad spending was allocated to television and print, two channels that have been over-saturated for years and are less effective as a result. Not only are those channels less effective today than other alternatives, but they also are more difficult to track.  Online and mobile campaigns come with analytics and data that can help you connect the dots between your marketing programs and revenue.

A survey conducted by Gartner suggests that 51 percent of companies plan to up their digital marketing budgets by an average of 17 percent in 2015.  All signs point to our mobile phone usage increasing in 2015, so it makes sense to invest your money into places that actually have the attention of your audience.  With that being said…

DO: Optimize Your Website and Landing Pages For Mobile
DON’T: Make It Harder For Your Customers To Find You

In 2014, Nielson reported that people spent more time using the internet on their phone than they did on their computer. That means if a potential customer came across your website at any point, it may have been on a 4 inch smartphone screen and not a 15 inch monitor.  That may not be concerning to you, but it should be. In a story published by the Huffington Post this year, it was reported that “57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.”

If you haven’t already optimized your website and other pages for mobile viewing, now is the time to spend the money to do it.  In Mary’s Internet Trends presentation, she shows that the percentage of page views coming from mobile devices increased 11% from 2013 to 2014, with 25% of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices.

DO: Use What You Have and Be Authentic With Inbound.
DON’T: Waste Your Existing Assets

According to Forbes, the #1 marketing trend a brand should invest in is authenticity.  The nice thing about this trend is that it’s not very expensive, so it won’t occupy much of your budget, but may occupy more of your time.  Be open and transparent with your customers and share things with them you think they will care about.  Hubspot defines inbound marketing as “the art and science of drawing visitors to your company on their own terms versus obtrusively pushing your messages onto them.”

As a business owner, you can start writing a blog, even if you aren’t the best writer, or post more pictures from behind the scenes of your business to Instagram.  Every little decoration in your store or employee you have is a story to be told that only you can share, and as crazy as it may seem, sharing it will probably make your customers care more about your business.

Hubspot State of Inbound 2014

Hubspot State of Inbound 2014

Sometimes your best marketing assets already exist and are right under your nose.

In our experience, we’ve found that WiFi networks, which already exist in most physical businesses, are an incredibly effective and low cost channel for connecting with customers.

DO: Set Aside SOME Money for New, Unfamiliar Channels and Opportunities
DON’T: Be Afraid of Trying Something New 

When we spoke to the CMO of Digital Ocean about the state of modern marketing, he told us that “it’s important for a digital marketer to constantly expand their skill set so they can evolve as they explore and find new channel opportunities.”

When a business or brand takes a small risk on a new social network or marketing technology, it can often result in a big reward.  2014 saw many fast food and quick serve restaurants such as Taco Bell and Burger King embrace Snapchat and Vine as pillars of their marketing programs, and businesses using Instagram to connect with customers are seeing 15X more engagement than their efforts on Facebook.

In 2015, experiment lightly with a social network you don’t currently use, or a try a free pilot of a new technology that you may not know much about.

DO: Continue Using Facebook As A Channel
DON’T: Be Surprised By Low Engagement

On November 14, 2014, Facebook published a story to its newsroom titled “News Feed FYI: Reducing Overly Promotional Page Posts In News Feed.”

The story confirms what dozens of publications have been speculating for months. In the future, brands will see even less organic reach and engagement on their content than they do now.  According to comScore, 42% of the time we spend in mobile apps is on Facebook, so abandoning the channel isn’t an option.  What is an option, however, is posting smarter and targeting the right audience for your content.

Here are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional, directly from Facebook.

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

If your content is authentic, original and aligned with your brand, it’s more likely to cut through the noise and reach your audience.  If you notice a post getting high organic engagement from the fans who see it, then you may want to use part of your budget to boost the post and continue driving positive results.  To drive even more positive results, try creating a custom audience using the interests of your top customers to target Facebook viewers more likely to convert into actual customers.

DO: Double Down on What Works
DONT: Repeat Last Year’s Mistakes

Before you lock in your 2015 marketing budget, take a look at the spending breakdown and make sure you know why you’re putting your money in those places.  Hopefully you have results and metrics for all of your campaigns for the previous year.  We suggest identifying the ones that were most successful and shifting more of your budget into campaigns of that nature.

If email marketing was a huge part of your 2014 plan and it worked well, invest in acquiring more qualified email addresses of your customers.  If the same promotional contest you’ve run for during the holiday season for the past 5 years doesn’t seem like it is working anymore..then maybe it’s time to stop.

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