Marketing Advice From One Little Guy to Another
Working with various-sized companies, our Verde Media team has extensive experience planning marketing projects that deal with a range of budgets.
Typically, the bigger the company, the more money there is to spend on marketing ventures, which can make our job a bit easier. However, many times we find that the main problem for our small business owners is not a tight marketing budget. The opposite, in fact.
Many small business and start-up owners are either spending too much on marketing without seeing adequate ROI or are spending the money haphazardly. Without organization and analysis, any marketing investment, large or small, has the potential to do more harm than good.
This is where we can help. Verde Media is actually in a unique position when it comes to providing marketing advice for the little guys. We were one, and not that long ago.
Being a younger company, we haven’t forgotten the trials and tribulations that one faces when starting out fresh on the marketing trail. We’ve lived and learned, and now we want to pass some of our knowledge on to you.
Figuring Out Your Marketing Budget: 5 Steps
Step 1: Organize & Analyze
First thing’s first. Before deciding on your marketing budget, you need to meet with your team to figure out how many resources you have available and where they are best spent. This is where you analyze your time and your money – the two major components of any marketing campaign.
Some avenues cost more money and require less of your time while others cost little to no money and require major grassroots effort from you and your team.
Things to ask yourself in this step:
- How large is my team?
- How much time to we have to set aside to marketing efforts?
- Do we have someone that can solely focus on social media and blog posts?
- What is our overall revenue?
- What percentage are we spending currently on marketing and ads?
- What is our ROI on each campaign?
- What kind of marketing campaigns are we currently running
- Paid Search
- Where do we see the most interactions with our customers?
- Where is the investment not producing adequate results?
…and so on and so on.
In step one, you really want to look at your marketing big picture, gather information and analyze results. Think of this as creating a detailed blueprint of your company’s current environment.
You can then compare this with your ideal goal environment and draw conclusions about which steps you need to take to get there.
Step 2: Decide How Much You Should Spend
The answer to “How much should I spend on marketing?” depends largely on a few factors, including industry and business type, available marketing tools, goals, revenue and customer base.
Adding to your questions from step one, ask yourself:
- Am I a B2B or B2C company?
- How does my competition market?
- Which marketing avenues are we familiar with that work well for us?
- What is our revenue goal (a specific number are beneficial here)?
- How do our customers find out about/interact with our business?
- Social Media?
- Word of Mouth?
We can’t tell you what you should spend without knowing more specifics about your company, but here are some pointers to consider when pinpointing a workable figure:
- Business 2 Business or Business 2 Consumer. Companies whose target audience is composed of other businesses tend to spend less on marketing than companies that target consumers. A B2B company has the advantage of targeting a narrow, exact audience, while a B2C business needs to cast a wider marketing net in order to reach all potential clientele. This usually requires more and/or creative marketing avenues.
- Business Age. Typically, the younger the business, the more the marketing investment. This is due in part to capital expenses, one-time marketing costs that older businesses have already paid, but newer businesses also need to push out their brand and build their reputation by creating consumer awareness.
- Business Locality. Is your target audience widely dispersed or close to your brick-and-mortar? If your primary clientele lives close to your business, you would want to focus on local forms of advertising. There would be no need to waste resources on a newspaper ad directed to another state or even another school district, depending on how precise your targeted region.
- Business competition. If competition is high for your company, then you will need to invest more in marketing campaigns that set you apart. You also need to know your place. A small, local shoe store won’t do well against a Nike store if it markets in the same way and to the same people. Know your audience and be the best you can be for it.
- Business Goals. The more aggressive your goals, the more money and time you will need to devote to marketing. Defining your goals in a clear quantitative manner will go a long way in helping you organize successful campaigns.
Considering all of this before moving on to step three greatly increases your chances of setting a workable budget and sticking to it, which, as you will see, is the most important part.
Step 3: Establish & Implement Your Marketing Budget
So, you’ve got a clear picture of where money is coming and going, what you would like to work on and how your customers interact with your business. Take everything that you learned in steps one and two, and apply it here to set your marketing budget parameters.
This is where you come up with the (hopefully) winning number, but don’t freak out – this is more of a working number than a static one as you will see in step four.
The important thing here is to not only establish your budget, but to stick to it. This is not to say that you can’t change it, but you should think long and hard before doing so. You’ve planned, organized and analyzed to get to this number, and it’s your only business expense designed solely to attract and keep customers.
Thinking you should change your budget is not enough.You need to have stats and evidence to back up any changes. Cutting corners can lead to abrupt, uninformed decisions that don’t take all moving parts into consideration.
Need help getting organized? Download our free marketing budget template.
Step 4: Revisit Your Budget Often, Track ROI & Adjust Accordingly
If you’re a successful marketer and you’re still in business, you will constantly be revisiting your budget and making changes to it. To ensure your changes are warranted, you need to keep track of your current marketing environment.
To do this, set frequent deadlines to check-in and analyze progress toward your goals. Many companies write up marketing reports monthly, quarterly and/or yearly. These reports should account for:
- Every dollar spent and where it goes.
- ROI timeframes.
- Conversion rates.
- Business growth.
- Progress toward goal.
Keeping up-to-date reports on your marketing campaigns will help you keep track of ROI, analyze what is working and what isn’t, and decide on necessary changes that will improve your marketing efforts.
We’ll Help You Set Your Marketing Budget & Decide How to Spend for Optimal ROI
Our team at Verde Media has the experience, know-how and tools to help you implement successful marketing campaigns. We’ll discuss your finances, current expenditures and future goals with you before deciding on a strategy.
Doing it this way ensures that your campaign will be structured with your business specifications in mind because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Our goal is for you to see an increase in sales and shorter time to ROI.
If you would like to discuss your company’s marketing strategy with us, fill out our form or give us a call today at 586-434-0678