Champagne taste on a beer budget! 5 questions for establishing your marketing budget.

When we first meet with a prospect, we use a comprehensive list of questions to discover their needs, goals and wishes. Often the list of wishes is full of creativity and aspirations that make a lot of sense, and it becomes our job to craft the best plan to bring them to fruition.
Once we have that, it’s not long before we ask the dreaded question…what’s your budget?

“A good marketing budget should always mirror the goals of the organization–no matter how aggressive or conservative they may be”.

In our experience, less than 5% of the time do we get an answer we can work with. Typically the company doesn’t know, and most times when they do have a number in mind, or on paper, it does not match up with either their goals or expectations.

As marketers, we are the ‘doctors’ who are trained to make the best recommendation possible. Our recommendations are based first on meeting the goals or objectives of the company. The budget is determined by those expectations. The problem is when we come back with a campaign that far exceeds the investment the advertiser was willing to make.

To try and get ahead of this, we often give clients a range, based on their goals that they can expect to allocate. To help clients better understand how we create a plan, you can ask yourself these questions:

1) Who are the customers you’re trying to reach through advertising and marketing?
2) What stage of business are you in? Do you need to attract new customers, or create
a strong brand that keeps the old ones coming back? What are your objectives?
3) How much do you think your competitors are spending on marketing?
4) How much have you spent in the past, and did you get results?
5) How much can you realistically spend?

That last bullet point can seem a bit overwhelming. As an industry standard, it’s good start with 10% of the projected gross income or go off of last year’s numbers. This amount may be more than you need to achieve a particular objective, but in the course of the year, if you’re able to allocate and commit to this amount, you should achieve the marketing goals you set out for.

If however you have highly aggressive goals and attempting to reach a very large market, any agency worth their weight should be able to tell you if your budget is in line to achieve those goals, or if you need to adjust them, which may include not only reducing your forecasts, but also extending the length of time you will require to accomplish those goals.

“Even in recessionary times, it is wise to keep the marketing budget intact. Yet, it’s often the first thing to be cut when times get rough. However, it’s been proven that cutting back on marketing will mean losing out on even more profits.”

The key point is the newer your brand or company, the more effort and thus corresponding budget you should allocate. A rocket trying to take-off, experiences the majority of its resistance when first trying to get off the ground. According to the SBA (in addition to other reputable studies) 70% of new firms with at least one employee survive for at least 2 years. About 50% go on for 5 years. Meaning half of all businesses fail within 5 years.

There are several key factors for business failure, and one that often is cited is that most companies allocate all of their money into the resources it takes to ‘open the doors’. But then once the doors are open, nobody knows they’re there.

Be realistic, marketing and advertising, even in the age of social media take time, and money, and professionals in many cases in order to reduce waste and maximize your budget. Being penny foolish and pound wise with your marketing and advertising budget has shuttered many companies both big and small.

The new ‘Mind Your Business’ Video Blog

Welcome to ‘Mind Your Business’ a new video blog featuring your company! The idea is simple, we want to speak to as many business owners and marketers and find out how you’re integrating digital with your traditional efforts.

We call this ‘tradigital’, but you can call it whatever you like. The key is to learn what is working and what some of your challenges are. As an agency who focuses on ‘tradigital’ we see the many challenges business owners have today as they try and integrate digital.

The most obvious challenge is learning a new technology and deciding if it makes sense to apply time and resources to it. At what point do you decide that a certain tool or digital strategy is not ‘fly by night’ and that you’re company stands to benefit from it?

It seems that as soon as one strategy or resource reaches a critical mass, there is a new one waiting to replace it. While this has always been the case in technology, we have never seen such a rapid cycle of it. Even hardware is quickly outdated and replaced by newer models with updated functions and features.

There are however several undeniable digital products and services that have proven their worth, and though continually evolving, should be part of any marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization using proper keyword strategies and blog posts for original content continue to dominate the internet ‘marketing’ space.

The practice of purchasing ‘adwords’ on Google, Bing and Yahoo, (maybe the original ‘online advertising’ strategy) continues to show dividends today, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Social Media seems to be the new ‘too big to fail’ strategy that has shown tremendous promise as more and more consumers look for new ways to interact with the brands they love the most. Facebook continues to dominate the space, but giants such as Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube and Google+ make managing the process that much more challenging.

This new video blog seeks to interview business owners and marketers and find out how they’re integrating these digital assets and what results they’re seeing.

Questions like:
• Are you seeing increased traffic to your website?
• Are your prospects finding you through social media?
• Are you using Pinterest, Instagram, Viddy or other social tools to drive traffic?
• Do you use Twitter for customer service purposes?
• Have you tested the use of a landing page or vanity URL?
• How do you integrate your blog with your marketing plan?
• Do you use custom tabs on Facebook and has it increased likes?
• Do you advertise online or on social media sites?

The key takeaway we’re looking for is to see how businesses are integrating digital with their traditional efforts, and what kind of results are they seeing? If you’re a business owner or marketer that has seen some success integrating digital, we’d like to schedule a 30 minute interview and find out how you’re minding your business! This video will be used on our site, and syndicated to our entire social media community, as well as sent out over the PR wire. In addition, you will receive a copy of the interview to use as you wish.

We hope this video series will not only teach and inspire other businesses and marketers, but that in true ‘Social Sense’, will also direct some eyeballs and eventually new business your way! Thank you for taking the time, please email me at jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com or call 561-288-1625 to schedule your on-site interview.