Saving money is really about getting the most value for money spent.
In the current economic climate, everyone is looking for ways to streamline and save a little money—brands included. One way brands are trying to do this is by cutting down on their “nonworking” media spending. Traditionally, brands have thought of the money they spend in two ways: either working or nonworking. Nonworking media spending is the money used to create content; brainstorming, concepting, designing, and executing. Working media spending is the money used to actually run the content, to get it in front of consumers’ eyes. This distinction is not always popular among advertising agencies. As David Beals, CEO of the Chicago-based consulting firm R3:JLB, put it, “The whole idea that the agency-fee dollars are nonworking and the media is working just doesn’t make sense. Anybody who has enough experience knows if the agency comes up with a crummy idea, not only does the media become nonworking, it can be negatively working.”
It’s understandable that brands are examining their media budgets carefully and looking for places they can save. But indiscriminately slashing creative budgets is a good way to end up with crummy ideas, as Beals says, which won’t do the brand any good at all. Many brands are focused on reducing the ratio of nonworking to working media at all costs. One so-called nonworking area that often gets the short end of the stick is digital, mobile, and social media, even though many in the industry would agree that it’s a crucial part of the future of marketing.
Brands should consider what types of content are the most effective at engaging consumers and leading to a sale, and focus their resources there in order to maximize every dollar. “If the goal is to get people to participate in the brand, you’re going to have to invest,” says Jordan Bitterman, senior VP social-media-platforms at Digitas. Smart media spending means investing in highly effective and engaging content creation.
Here at Pongr, we make a big deal about the power of photos and photo marketing, but that’s because it is a big deal. The popularity of sites like Instagram and Pinterest—not to mention the 300 million photos that are uploaded to Facebook daily—proves that we live in a visual world. People snap photos of brands they love every day, and shoppers are far more likely to actually purchase a product they’ve taken a picture of. Creating these brand moments should be a top priority, and the value of earned media cannot be underestimated. Studies have shown that earned media consistently ranks first in driving purchases, above owned and paid media.
Everyone’s keeping an eye on their spending these days, even brands. Creating really excellent, engaging content is highly effective and leads to sales, and is a much better option than simply cutting back content development entirely. Fan-generated photo content is where it’s at, and will provide huge returns on advertising dollars. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.