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To the Last Drop

Good ideas are hard to come by--so milk yours for all they're worth.
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
3 min read

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

"Recycling" was a big buzzword in the '90s--and its benefits in preserving resources, saving money and reducing waste haven't waned in the new millennium. But few business owners think of recycling as an important tool when it comes to marketing.

By applying recycling principles to your marketing materials, you could save big bucks while increasing the effectiveness of your outreach. Use these ideas to get more mileage out of your marketing:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is to change successful marketing campaigns just because they've been doing them for a while. Although it's important to keep your messages fresh, if your campaign is going strong, it's probably not necessary to change it. Get feedback from your customers and employees before you change for the sake of change. Remember, there's no guarantee the new strategy will be more effective.

Spread it out. When a campaign has been working successfully for your business, try to utilize it in other areas. For instance, would that award-winning print ad campaign also work as direct-mail pieces? Are those fabulous product shots in your catalog appropriate for in-store promotions or advertising? Reusing quality resources, such as campaign concepts or photography, can be a tremendous cost-saving tactic.

Think ahead. Similarly, when you consider launching a new project, keep the possibilities of multiple applications in mind. For instance, if you're creating a short informational video for prospective customers, take other applications you may have for video footage into consideration--will you be doing television advertising, or would video be a good addition to your Web site? If so, be sure the video crew shoots everything you need, even if you might not use it all immediately. This can be much less expensive than hiring a new camera crew to shoot additional footage. Make sure it states in your agreement with the video producer, photographer or agency that you own all rights to the images. That way, you won't get zapped with usage fees later on.

Reprint it. Did you get some great press recently? Contact the publisher or producer to find out if you can reuse the piece. Because publicity is a strong third-party endorsement, it often carries clout with current and prospective customers. At the very least, get good, clean copies of any print publicity and keep them framed in a conspicuous location at your place of business.

Copy that. If you have an active publicity campaign already in place, chances are you're only a few steps away from great newsletter copy. It's a good idea to recycle any current and interesting press releases into some of the latest and greatest news for your company's publications. This is a great time-saver and can reduce agency copywriting fees.

Deck the walls. If you've created great-looking campaigns, frame them and use them as wall hangings in your office. Not only is this a quick and easy way to capture the history of your company, but as your company grows, it also acts as a conversation piece when clients come to your place of business. To be a successful marketing recycler, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers. When old campaigns begin to lose momentum, it's time for a change. In the meantime, make sure that you've gotten the most out of every good idea and image you've created for your business.

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