Appropriately budgeting for marketing is a difficult process, at best. Trying to figure out the right amount to get the results you need or want, can be frustrating, even overwhelming. And there isn’t one right answer to this question.
We do know from our experience that companies without a solid B2B marketing strategy backed by an appropriate allocation of resources usually see lower sales.
Keep in mind the best marketing program for your company doesn’t necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. But products don’t sell themselves. And keeping your name in front of your customers builds your brand and inspires loyalty.
Here are some basic solutions we have found that work:
Focus on your target audience. We often develop Buyer Personas for each target market. We find that it helps in determining not only who you want to reach, but also what media channels they are likely to use: print, online, TV, direct mail, website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Understanding this first helps determine where best to focus your time and resources.
Understand your new marketing environment. Consider your industry, the size of your business, profit margins, and the stage of your company’s growth cycle. Also consider what your competition is doing. Are they advertising heavily, and do you have to keep up? Is it time for a renewed branding campaign? What will the budgetary needs be to create a consistent message with all marketing materials? Many businesses choose to allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues when developing a budget – from 5-10 percent for established businesses and even as high as 20+ percent if you’re a start-up or in a very competitive industry.
Constantly check. Develop a flexible spending plan with carefully sequenced milestones to measure your marketing’s effectiveness. Revisit your marketing plan often and allow for course corrections. Consider a contingency fund if possible – prices change and needs evolve.
Track results. With the amount of information available, most marketing efforts can be tracked. We find this is a critical area that is often overlooked or overanalyzed. One can easily be fooled to think that the numbers you are seeing in Google Analytics, for example, are exact. They are not….it’s important to focus instead on trends. They are your most accurate measurement.
Remember: good marketing can mean the difference between breaking even and making a serious profit. And with a smart marketing firm on your side, even a smaller marketing budget can go far.