As we enter this year in business, like many, you may be struggling to endure this tough economy. Your not alone, many companies are feeling the effects and are looking for ways to reduce their expenditures, including marketing. However, research shows that brands who continue advertising through tough times benefit by gaining market share and increasing ROI.

If only there were a way to cut your overall marketing expenses, but maintain or increase your current level of marketing. While at first glance, this idea may seem impossible - there's actually a very practical answer for many companies. The solution lies in making sure that you're investing your marketing dollars with the most efficient vendors, whether PR firms, ad agencies, web firms, etc. In the creative industry, efficient usually means smaller.

It's just the way the cards fall - when you spend money with the big agencies, all of their superfluous overhead is passed along to clients like you. This overhead includes everything from fancy offices adorned with modern art to every executive having multiple secretaries. While there are certainly some larger firms that do a great job of being efficient with capital, the typical scenario is that as an agency grows, so does its ego, overhead, and costs.

It's really important to take a close look at the companies that you're investing your marketing dollars with and make sure that you're paying for results for your company not expensive executive retreats.

The fact that we're a small, Indianapolis web design firm doesn't mean we don't create big results - it just means that we can do it more affordably than our big competitors. We keep our offices just north of downtown Indy, don't have a fancy space, and answer our own phones. We do all of these things to keep our overhead low - both for our own bottom line and our clients'.

There are a number of ways to increase your marketing efficiency during these tough times, whether it's investing your marketing budget online, being more careful with ad buys, and many others. However, I think one strategy that doesn't get enough attention is shifting your marketing dollars to smaller firms who are more affordable and use your dollars more efficiently.

Again, there are big firms out there that do a good job of being efficient with an organization's budget, but we have often been the witness of the scenario where someone chooses an agency due to their name and size, and then have their budget blown apart as the large firm's prices are hyper-inflated.

Make sure to do your research before choosing your agency to make sure they'll be careful with your capital and don't be afraid of working with one of the small guys (like us).