Believe it or not, certain limitations can turn out to be a blessing when developing a healthcare advertising campaign. Financial constraints in particular force you to look at your marketing plan closely to make sure you have a solid foundation in place before even considering adding bells and whistles. Budget limitations focus your energy on just the ideas that will be the most effective and also establish parameters within which you have to work.

In this day and age, there are many options for getting your brand’s message out there, but you cannot and you should not pursue them all. While working on a shoestring budget forces you to make hard choices, it can often lead to more creative and effective solutions.

Invariably, the first step in annual brand planning is to indulge in “blue sky” brainstorming. While these gatherings have their time and place, it is possible that they only result in more billable hours, longer timelines and creativity for creativity’s sake.

Back to Basics

A more productive strategy may be to scrutinize the base tactical plan across customers that will support successful executions of your strategies while identifying foundational gaps. Try revisiting tried-and-true tactics and getting back to basics. Strive for a proven and efficient plan that can best serve your customers, not to mention your budget.

When filtering for tried-and-true tactics, it is important to consider all customers in the plan and the marketing channels available. Direct mail and email, for example, are extremely effective in the non-personal channel and are proven to complement field force efforts. Consistent reach and frequency with basic efficient tactics will trump a cool app or an expensive dimensional mailer any day.

Getting back to basics on a shoestring budget may also include an audit of your current brand campaign and in-market materials. Over the years, your brand has likely introduced different evolutions of the campaign across customers and tactics that worked well in the moment but did not serve the brand well in the long run. These evolutions in multiple directions can ultimately dilute the brand’s strength and create a sense that each new tactic is simply trying to top the last one.

Optimize Your Campaign

One way to synthesize disparate creative ideas is to converge on one clear direction that leverages market experience while focusing on clarity of message and campaign.

Set your annual strategic and tactical plan on a solid foundation and build a unified campaign from established, proven elements that can generate momentum.

While the creative is an essential part of a campaign’s equation, it is important to recognize it as a vehicle that can only propel a brand to success when placed in the right tactical plan. As budgets continue to shrink, seamlessly integrating the right creative executions from brand to brand and over time into relevant core tactics can help optimize your campaign and give you the best value.

  • Natalie McDonald

    Natalie McDonald is Founder and President of Create NYC. Before founding Create NYC, Natalie was both a Director of Marketing at Pfizer and a Brand Navigator at Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare.

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