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5 Tips for Growing Returns from your Marketing Budget in 2018

January 10, 2018

Or How to Resist the Hype and Do the Stuff That Works

by Alexander Ashworth, Creative Director of Manifest

Just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean your business should travel in the same direction as everyone else. In marketing it always pays to keep an open mind.

On the safe assumption that you want to see your business grow and thrive in 2018, a good first step is to question the effectiveness of your current marketing activity and investigate what alternative approaches could yield better outcomes for your budget.

Of course there is so much hype and peer pressure out there that it’s sometimes hard to make the right choices. Because Manifest provides an integrated marketing service, we never need to promote one channel or strategy over another until we know what our client is trying to say to whom. We also like to measure returns on investment, something pure social media and content marketing agencies often shy away from.

So as well as some practical suggestions, Manifest’s 5 tips for growing returns from your marketing budget in 2018 are also about resisting the hype, taking a careful look at your audience segments, and sticking to what you can do really well for your available budget.


1 Look (and think) before you leap

Avoid the temptation to leap into strategies and channels just because you think your organisation needs to be there. For all the hype, there’s more to an effective marketing strategy than social media presence and content marketing. In fact there is often a greater chance of being heard and remembered using less swamped and clogged channels which, as an added bonus, typically require a smaller commitment of time and budget.

To get the best returns, stick to carefully measuring the needs, wants, preferences and behaviour of your target audience before deciding how best to begin and sustain the conversations that most likely drive customer relationships towards a profitable sale.

Take mobile advertising for example. It is projected to represent 70% of all digital ad spending by 2019 as mobile’s dominance over desktop grows. However mobile ad blocking on smartphones has increased 90% year-over-year, and 83% of browsers in the US, UK, Germany and France would like the choice to block all types of mobile ads (Hubspot). Mobile advertising works in some markets but make sure yours is one of them before you spend those precious pounds.


2 Enhance the mobile performance of your website

It’s time to check that your website provides a truly great mobile experience. Over 50% of web browsing in the UK was via mobile in 2017 (Google); UK adults spent an average of one hour and 59 minutes a day mobile browsing (eMarketers).

Remember that providing a great mobile experience is about more than optimising your desktop site to look pretty and load quickly; it’s about understanding that your consumers’ needs on mobile can be very different from desktop, so consider producing separate content for mobile and desktop and ponder whether you need a dedicated mobile marketing strategy. Keep tracking share of traffic and organic search rank for mobile.

Check out the new mobile experience which Manifest designed for Illustration and launched in December 2017 at


3 Increase the relevance and value of your content

As all marketers know, whenever you communicate with your audience, always do it with relevance, value and consistency.

While content marketing can be a very successful strategy, to succeed you need a solid plan, content calendars, and lots of time and budget to create unique, highly shareable, and valuable content.

If you can’t commit the time or budget to doing content marketing really well, don’t bother because it will only lead to disappointment and a waste of your money. Instead explore other strategies and channels which can provide a better return on your investment.


4 Question the ROI of your social media spend

Stop asking where your brand should be on social media and start measuring how it’s helping to drive customers towards purchasing intent.

If you or your agency are using true metrics, such as ‘profits per customer’, and it is working well then stay with it. If you are measuring by actions such as followers and friends then, however fast the numbers are growing, you might want to think about alternative channels that offer a more direct correlation to business outcomes.

Also, bear in mind that while the influence of social media is increasing, research shows that email marketing continues to massively outperforms social media when it comes to sales. For example, rates of engagement with a brand’s fans are as low as 7 in 10,000 for Facebook and 3 in 10,000 for Twitter, and 1% of ecommerce sales are generated by social media contrasted with 17% by email (Forrester Research).


5 Think customer segments not products

Do you focus on customer segments or products? A customer-centric structure could help your business to better understand its customers and develop deeper, more profitable relationships with them.

30% of Fortune 500 firms, including Intel, Dell, IBM, and American Express, are already using customer-centric structures resulting in an average growth of 11% (Harvard Business Review). It’s not right for everyone but just put yourself in the minds of a typical customer and imagine how compelling an offer built specifically around your needs and wants would be.


If you find Manifest’s insights and common sense approach to marketing refreshing, why not get a free copy of our brochure? Just send an email to with your name, company and postal address, or call us on 020 7801 8900. Wishing you a very successful 2018.