Winning Strategies For Business: Defining a Marketing Budget
By Space Coast Daily // April 12, 2012
The price of success
The price of success is translated in more than dollars and cents. It takes hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Often long hours, tireless weekends and overcoming challenge after challenge is the price one pays for developing a successful venture.
There is also a monetary investment required in creating success – an investment in marketing. Every business, no matter how big or small, requires a certain amount of dedicated income to marketing its products and services. Without a dedicated budget, marketing often gets categorized as an occasional expense, instead of ongoing investment.
The Right Marketing Strategy
For most new business, finding the right marketing strategy requires some experimentation.
Different strategies may have to be executed over a short period, to find the right combination of marketing tactics that produce results for your business. For example, you can use the combination of SEO, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, press release distribution, paid ads, etc. for the best results.
Once you find the right combination, it has to be constantly and continually applied to generate momentum and exponentially increase your sales volume. This requires a dedicated budget.
Setting a Marketing Budget
Many people shy away from the idea of spending money marketing. Moreover, a great number of businesses do not assign a budget for marketing amongst their other company expenses. Investing in your marketing is a critical step in ensuring your growth and success. Growth in business requires continual dedication to creating and funding its success.
As a business owner, it is critical that you clearly set aside a marketing budget for your company on a monthly basis. This investment should be dedicated to creating exposure for your company and attracting consumers. This funds the production of marketing materials, advertising, sponsorships, networking events, direct mail, SEO, publicity and promotional materials.
Exercise your business muscles
Investing in your business exposure is like exercising. Exercise is only effective with a clearly defined regular routine that works towards the goals you want to achieve. To see results, you must repeat your exercise routine consistently on a schedule over time.
Marketing is to your business what exercise is to your body. Without the regular repetition of a set strategy, it is ineffective. Sporadic efforts don’t create sustainable, long term results. To be effective, marketing requires continual effort and a dedicated budget. Companies without a dedicated marketing budget often fail to make a continual effort towards marketing their business; and growth and sales naturally decline.
How Much Should I Spend on Marketing?
Deciding on the right amount to invest in your business requires looking at your company individually. You have to find your comfort zone. The industry standard typically suggests 10%-15% of all sales should be invested in marketing. Some business can dedicate more; some less. Determining what is right for you depends on where your business is at financially. If your business isn’t ready for a 10% investment, start with 5% and work your way up.
Charting out your expenses will help tremendously in creating room for a healthy marketing budget. Many small businesses do not have extra capital. Some owners complain that they do not have the budget for marketing when in truth, they simply do not have a large budget for marketing.
If your company can only afford a small amount, perhaps $250 per month, then set it aside as your marketing budget. Create a special account and direct the money there before deciding which marketing route to take.
Using your budget wisely
With smaller budgets, it is critical that you quickly find the strategies that work for you, and then invest the majority of your budget towards this. Determining how much you can spend on marketing helps determine what you can actually do.
For example, if your monthly marketing budget is $500, then find strategic ways to use it effectively. Perhaps this means dividing it up between pay per clicks, e-blasts and flyers.
Perhaps this means only doing one thing per month; a tabletop event, business cards, etc. Perhaps this means saving up your monthly marketing over a few months and thereby be able to afford larger marketing efforts; printing an effective brochure, sending bulk mailing or building a website. The more you dedicate to invest in marketing, the greater results you can anticipate.
Creating success without consistently investing in marketing your company, brand and services is a near impossibility. Don’t find yourself in a position of inertia. Start looking at your company finances, and find areas to create your marketing budget. Then, decide on the areas of marketing you can afford, and start there. It is absolutely necessary if you want to see your business succeed.