Another month, another OCR increase on the horizon and more doom and gloom as the country awaits confirmation that we’re officially in recession.

For many marketers, the current economic climate will be making it harder and harder to maintain the status quo in their marketing programmes. Conservative forecasting often leads to budget reductions, which can feel very frustrating when you have a strong vision for your brand but less money available to bring it to life.

If you’re in this position, switching up the way you work with your agencies can make all the difference in terms of bang for buck, allowing you to maintain a strong marketing presence and (if you’re really savvy!) achieve more for less.

As an agency that works with clients at every end of the spectrum – from start-ups and SMEs, right through to multinationals – we maintain a strong focus on value and ROI. With that in mind, here’s our best advice for getting the most out of every last marketing dollar you spend with your agency.

1. A proper brief will improve your ROI every time  

Think briefing is boooooooring and a waste of time? Think again.

A good brief to your agency will ensure that everyone on the team is crystal clear on your objectives, timings, dependencies and budgets - as well as any opportunities or challenges that should be factored into your campaign.

If briefing is not your forte, or you’re just too stretched to find time to put pen to paper, suggest a call with your account manager and ask them to provide you with a reverse brief – i.e. their understanding of what you require.

Either way, make a good brief your first step in any new campaign – social or otherwise. By putting this in place, you’ll have confidence that your marketing dollars are being used as efficiently as possible.

2. Be transparent about your budget

Yes, we know you’re rolling your eyes as you read this… After all, of course agencies will say you should spill the beans about your budget – that way they can get their hands on every last dollar, right? Not quite.

If you have trust in your agency*, then there should be no reason to keep your budget a secret. That’s because a good agency is determined to add value, and will ensure that every dollar gets put to good use to achieve maximum bang for buck.

Speaking to our peers in the agency sector, this is a massive bugbear. That’s because no two clients’ businesses, budgets and growth plans are alike, which makes it impossible for us to guess at what their budgets might be.

So please don’t hesitate to share your budget with us. If you do, we’ll be able to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend on various activities, tell you whether you’re under or overspending, and provide realistic projections about how much can be achieved for your investment.

3. Make data-based decisions

Speaking of investment... If you’re not already making data-based marketing decisions about marketing spend, now is absolutely the moment to pivot to a data-led approach.

Get a good real-time results dashboard in place for your key marketing activities and assign resource to analyse the data

By understanding which parts of your marketing are the most effective, you’ll quickly be able to redistribute marketing budget to where it will generate maximum positive impact.

If data and analysis are not your strength, don’t stress. ROI-focussed agencies offer detailed reporting and analysis as part of their service, meaning you will be provided with good data and insights from which to make decisions.

4. Consider switching to fixed scope fees

If the word from your senior leadership team is that budgets need to be reined in, one of the best ways to maintain a consistent level of marketing presence is by agreeing a fixed scope of deliverables with your agency, for a fixed fee.

This approach ensures you have your marketing bases covered, while your boss (and the finance team) have confidence that overheads won’t blow out.

Taking this approach also gives your agency the ability to work as efficiently as possible, as they know what’s expected of them in advance and can plan resource to meet your needs precisely.

5. Don’t freak out and put on the brakes

Whatever you do, don’t stop marketing!

If your organisation is really feeling the pinch, then talk to your agency as soon as possible about what your downgraded budget will be.

Having a proactive conversation gives your agency partners the opportunity to think creatively about how to get the most out of what budget is still available.

*Side note – if trust is not one of the top three reasons you love your agency, it’s definitely time to look elsewhere!

The team at Matter are social media specialists. We empower clients across multiple sectors – from health to technology, durables and property – to create meaningful social media presence that offers strong return on investment. Looking for support with your brand’s social media? Talk to us.