Marketing Budgets and Templates

In these days of economic squeeze, companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Marketing budgets might seem like a target for budget-cutting, but if they are cut too much, a company’s message – and the bottom line – may weaken, precisely at a time when it’s imperative to keep strong.

Desktop publishing and presentational software packages have come a long way in recent years, and many of these programs come with a variety of pre-made templates. More templates are available on the internet, and others can be purchased on a CD. Templates for layout, templates for business forms, templates for web sites. Seems like a great idea – use a template and save the marketing budget. This is especially attractive to small businesses.

But how many times have you endured another boring PowerPoint presentation and recognized the template they used? Or seen a web site and recognized a home page from a FrontPage template? Or looked at a newsletter and recognized a Publisher template? The templates were originally designed by professionals and do prevent you from making obvious gaffes. But then, what makes the presentation or web site or newsletter you saw different, if it looks like someone else’s? And what does it say about your company when the templates you use are so recognizable?

To position your company as unique, the marketing materials you use should also be unique. Hire a professional graphic designer to create custom designs. One who understands your business and your audience. One that will help you stand out from your competitors. One that can work collaboratively with you or your writers to craft a message that is irresistible to your clients and prospects. And keep your bottom line strong. One other thing: professionals can guide you with creative ways to save money that you may never have thought of.

Templates aren’t all bad, by the way. There’s no reason a good professional designer can’t design a set of custom templates just for you, so you present a consistent look with your marketing materials, whatever the format. That’s a win-win: you can reuse your own custom templates again and again, differentiating yourself from everyone else, and you can do so without breaking your budget. That should be music to the ears.

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