With fall quickly approaching, many of our clients are establishing or revamping media budgeting for the next fiscal year while simultaneously making decisions on how to spend the remainder of their 2022 media dollars. Whether your business has diligently planned for Q4 and has a surplus budget to spend before the end of the year, or your business is scrambling to get ready for the holiday season and needs to make the most of your remaining 2022 marketing budget, now is the time to take focused action with your media strategy.

Current LEAP Amp Senior Account Manager and former Digital Media Buyer Todd Krise strongly recommends that the most important step any brand can take when facing Q4 budgeting is to stay true to their strategic media plan. Not every business can simply outspend its competitors, but they can choose to use the resources and budget they have very wisely. Particularly for retail and CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) businesses, September and October can easily induce a feeling of media strategy panic: how can they stretch their remaining yearly budget through the holiday season, and how can they set their marketing budget up for success in 2023? LEAP Amp understands that this Q4 budget stress is very real and can push even the most conscientious marketers into anxiety-ridden decisions, so we’ve assembled eight media strategy tips to help any business maximize their year-end budget.

Q4 Media Strategy Best Practices

As the holidays approach, consumers will be ruthlessly scouring ecommerce sites looking for the best shopping experience and creating a media buying plan to help your brand stand out from the onslaught of competition can feel daunting. Because Q4 media ads are the most expensive cost-per-click or cost-per-lead ads to purchase, LEAP Amp encourages our clients to follow these best practice tips to make the most of their media budget.

1. Know your target audience.

When making any new media buying decision, always be sure to first consider who comprises your target audience. What are their needs and behaviors, especially near the holidays? You can also harness the power of natural language input and connect with consumers by running ads that answer commonly asked questions. Keeping your target audience in the forefront of your media strategy will keep your brand messaging focused and connected with your most likely buyers.

2. Sell your value proposition, not your product.

In the months preceding major holidays, it can be very tempting to sell your products to consumers. But rather than creating ads that proclaim the features, price, or quality of your product, try communicating how your product can improve your customers’ lives. How will your products increase consumer health, save consumer time, or make consumers feel happier?

3. Play with ad proportions.

If you have a surplus budget, or even a tight budget and a bit of creativity, consider playing with the proportions of your ads. You could make a greater impact on your target audience by incorporating ad flights or supersized ads into your marketing strategy. Ad flights allow your brand to place ads for short periods of time that can repeat weekly, monthly, or seasonally, while supersized ads enable you to include larger or longer videos, graphics, or text details.

4. Retarget, retarget, retarget.

Retargeting is a huge component of stretching year-end marketing budgets and reaching consumers in Q4. Even consumers who reach your landing page or website won’t always decide to purchase at that time. Tracking consumer behavior across your web pages and retargeting users after initial engagement will reinforce your brand messaging and help move consumers back to your sales funnel in the future.

5. Know the importance of media amplification.

Planning, buying, and optimizing media is key is to ensure that your advertising targets the right search terms and provides a highly relevant offer. As a strategic media agency, LEAP Amp makes sure our clients’ messages are targeted and amplified on the right channels without ever losing sight of their target audiences, their needs, or their behaviors. Incorporating targeted paid search ads to your media budgeting can amplify your products and services, as well as ensure that your place of business appears on search engine results for local searches.

6. Don’t spread yourself thin on social media.

An effective social media channel strategy will always help your brand determine which channels are best suited to help you achieve your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and business objectives. A mix of organic and paid social media content can be a great way to connect with target audiences within a tight budget. But don’t try to spread your dollars too thin by advertising across multiple platforms. You don’t need to have your brand on every single platform to gain visibility, you only need to focus on the platforms that you already know your consumers use.

7. Remember the value of in-person marketing.

As the pandemic calms and consumers feel more comfortable shopping in person again, consider targeting competitor locations (think nearby shopping malls) to remind consumers that while your brick-and-mortar store might be a bit of a drive, you offer better deals or more quality options than your competition. Meeting your target audience in person with flyers, giveaways and enthusiasm for your brand is a great way to remind consumers why yours is the better option.

8. Use Q4 to create new marketing content.

While this last tip isn’t technically budgetary advice, the LEAP Amp team really does want to see you succeed in your marketing campaigns…so our final piece of best practice guidance is to utilize the end of your fiscal year to create new marketing content that focuses on building connection with your target consumer. While Q4 is often completely focused on getting consumers to buy, buy, buy, your B2B or B2C marketing team can also use this time to develop more educational and relational content so that once the holidays have passed, your brand is ready to start the new year on the right foot.

The moral of this year-end budgetary story is, don’t let yourself become overwhelmed and panicked. Gather and review the data on your target audience, and then use that information to inform your media budgeting and buying decisions. Meet your consumers where they’re at with high-quality calls to action and seamless user experiences. Analyze your 2022 metrics, which should be a more accurate, post-pandemic representation of consumer behavior, and use those metrics to direct your media strategy for next year. Lastly, remember that you can always reach out to a trusted media agency like the LEAP Amp team for quarterly check-ins and marketing strategy guidance.