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Marketing Budgets 101—An Easy Introduction

02 Sep 10
Michelle Cubas
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Congratulations. You stopped long enough to read this and get out of the task mindset.

Often, clients ask me how to budget for marketing. As we are in unchartered territory, the usual “left-overs” approach to marketing will sink a business today.  At the core, it is not about the money. It is not about competition. It is about how you make your case to assure your prospect of a smart buying decision. They must feel secure that you will deliver on your promise. The prospect wants to feel good about a relationship with your company. Provide that link with your marketing message.

Amazingly, when companies are concerned about making payroll or staying afloat, the first place they cut is sales personnel. Think about it: how does that make sense when these “boots on the ground” or the voices on the phone or at the networking meeting are the circulatory system of your company. My personal favorite is how marketing money is slashed because it is a non-revenue producing department.—Try running a company without it.

The other mystery is how many small business owners do not understand marketing beyond a phone book ad. Advertising is a tool of marketing.

Here are a couple of tips as you review and revise your marketing plans. (Yes, I trust that you have one!)
1.    Have a written marketing plan.
2.    Define your primary, secondary and ancillary target audiences.

  • Assign a percentage of budget to each category. 
  • Include research to map the psychographics of your audience:
      • Where do they shop? 
      • What are similar values they hold and relate to your company values? 
      • What causes are important to them? 
      • What do they read?
      • What percentage of time are they online, reading print and want to be contacted?
      • Answers provide a place to start about placement of your marketing messages.
  • These are sampling questions for your website to conduct an online poll, survey after you have established and earned the trust of your visitor.

3.    15% designated to search engine optimization (SEO) functions. For example, if you have $500 for online marketing, $75 would go for SEO.
4.    Calculate your annual sales and take 5-7% as your marketing budget. Of course, if you are launching new products or services, you may want to assign a separate budget for those items.
5.    Who can best implement and manage your marketing? If you are doing everything, you are doing nothing well. This book will change how you view running your business, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. You can easily order a copy by clicking on the Amazon box.

If nothing else, a simple outline encompassing the issues above will help you to run your business, stand above and look down (meta view) and begin to see how all the moving parts work together. If nothing else, consider ways to apply the suggestions. -MC
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