Some of us at EFM still remember when the internet was uncharted marketing territory. Back when the clear majority of advertising budgets were spent on traditional TV, print, branding and printed collateral.

Those days are long gone. And that’s a good thing. With a lower cost of entry, digital offers a much more accessible way to get your message out to the masses and, more importantly, your target audience. Just about any brand can start a blog, build a social media presence and create a retargeted campaign–without spending an arm and a leg.

But leveling the playing field brings some unintended consequences. One of those is the influx of low-quality campaigns. If you’re a company with a small marketing budget, you’ll most likely need to spend most of it on your media buy. So, where’s the first place marketers often look to cut costs? The actual creative work.

“It’s fine,” a lot of companies will say. “We’re not a glossy brand, like Coca Cola, Apple or Ford. Our customers don’t expect high-quality ads, and we’re making money with our campaigns anyway.”

Well, that’s exactly what the competition says too. Which means you’re missing out on a clear opportunity to differentiate your brand in the marketplace. This is your chance to step it up a notch and enjoy the rewards.

For example, our team recently worked with two companies–both will remain nameless. The ask? “Elevate the brands to the next level.” Both companies were direct response-driven, and had seen stalled growth from their DRTV and online DR video campaigns. They were hesitant to divert from the formulas that worked so well over the years, but knew something needed to change.

We conducted the same experiment for both companies: use the most successful recent scripts and shoot to those exact scripts, only with higher production values than before. Then, we ran the old ads versus the new spots to see which performed better.

What did we find? For both brands, the ads with the higher production values outperformed the old ones by significant margins–even though the messages were identical. In fact, the first brand saw a 10% increase from the new ads, while the other reported more than 20%.

Or consider one of our hospitality clients in Las Vegas. We shot nearly all their photos and video for the year over a 3-week period in January. By strategically capturing everything at the same time, we stretched their money further, while improving the overall quality of their assets well beyond previous shoots. In that year alone, the client realized a tremendous 28% in YOY revenue growth, and a whopping 231% jump in booking intent–results they credited to the new, higher quality creative.

Even if you’re a small company running a simple Twitter account, blog or just a handful of retargeted ads, your creative matters. High-quality creative doesn’t always mean spending more. But it does mean making quality a vital part of your brand strategy.

Think about how you can better prioritize the quality of your storytelling. Your brand–and your bottom line–will thank you.