Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, recently fell into bankruptcy for the second time since 2004. The company pinned its financial problems to legacy pension costs and a weak economy. Hostess TwinkiesNews media pointed the finger at changing consumer diets. I think an absent marketing strategy is partly to blame.

In today’s economy, it’s virtually impossible to run a business without some kind of marketing. This is especially true of consumer packaged goods (CPGs), whose marketing budgets often exceed 20 percent of sales revenue.

So where are the Twinkies TV commercials? The Twinkie banner ads? The compelling web content? Here are five strategies that could ensure a brighter future for Twinkie and Hostess:

1. Get social.
CPGs make up a large portion of Facebook’s top 50 branded pages. But Hostess is nowhere to be found. As of this writing, it has a single Facebook page dedicated to 12 Hostess brands. But how many people know that Twinkies, HoHos, Ding-Dongs or SnoBalls are made by Hostess?The company would do better to have a Facebook presence for each of its brands, with brand-specific promotions on each page. This would also help them reach the 22,000+ people who are currently fans of squatter pages.

2. Target bloggers.
A 2011 BlogHer study found bloggers to be nearly twice as influential as celebrity sponsorships. For a cash-strapped company, targeting bloggers can be a cheap and effective way to expand reach and generate sales.

A quick Pinterest search reveals that bloggers have already embraced Twinkies by turning them into mummies, minions and even Halloween costumes. Hostess can capitalize on this trend by sending out free products and sponsoring blog-based promotions, then showcasing the resulting coverage on its own Twinkie-based blog.

3. Embrace nostalgia.
Hostess reintroduced Twinkie the Kid in 2011, but his modern facelift left him looking more “SpongeBob” than “snack cake.” This may have alienated old-school fans who grew up seeing Twinkie on the Howdy Doody Show.

According to branding expert Martin Lindstrom, companies using retro marketing “are not only triggering our nostalgia for that time; they’re creating an association in our brains between our rosy memories of the era and their product.” By embracing nostalgic imagery, Hostess could capitalize on Twinkie’s long history and generate interest among the baby boomer crowd.

4. Increase partnerships.
Nutella Twinkies. Sounds good, right? By creating partnerships with other well-known brands, Hostess would not only capitalize on additional brand equity, but create new product offerings that trigger impulse buys.

You might already know what Twinkies taste like. But see limited-edition Oreo cheesecake Twinkies on the shelf, and you’re curious. This curiosity can add up to additional sales.

5. Plan for long-term media buys.
It takes money to make money, and high-profile advertising comes at a cost. But if Hostess wants to compete with other CPGs, it needs a long-term media strategy.

Years ago, Hostess had a great ad campaign that had everyone asking, “Where’s the cream filling?” (Remember the fat lady in an inner tube, who was mistaken for a Hostess cupcake?) But the world has heard little from Hostess since then — other than news of its bankruptcy. Remaining top of mind for consumers requires long-term exposure, not just a flash in the pan.

What ideas do you have for low-cost, long-term marketing strategies? Leave them in the comments section below.