Advertising spend – oh if it were that easy. There are established methods from percentage of turnover to more elaborate methods but ultimately it’s ‘feel’, experience and good planning. As a smaller business, if you take the ‘finger in the air’ approach, you can improve your judgement by recognising if your goal or marketing objective is ambitious or moderate vis a vis your competitors and by having a good feel for the macro and micro influences on your business. And that’s all down to thorough marketing planning.
A classic marketing campaign covers a variety of media because as consumers, we’re information hungry and we tap into many sources of information, whether subliminally or consciously. You think through a potential buyer’s ‘purchasing journey’ (data supports this depending on your industry, geo interests etc.), you already have a feel for how many touch points your audience needs before they buy (on average), you weight this up with ‘reach’, opportunities to see (all the data is there), you ultimately get a feel for whether you campaign is heavy weight or a bit thin on the ground. If you’ve mapped out your coverage, crunched the numbers and feel it is light, then you run the risk of ‘nearly’ getting your sale. Worse, you may have primed your audience for a competitor. Therefore, a medium weight campaign will get you the best return for your investment. A heavy weight one will achieve goals but it will not be the best return on investment. It also encourages sloppiness. A lightweight one – well, you might hit lucky – one quality piece of editorial may hit the spot and return a sale but consider how many touchpoints your potential customer or client needs on average. One-offs rarely work.
So how much to spend on advertising? Forget launching into budgeting methods or going for a guesstimate or how much you can afford (although this is recognised in text books as a method). Instead, do the necessary research; know your audience and every move of your competitor, as the first steps in your marketing planning. Then go to an expert who will have an idea from experience, what is likely to be the most fruitful budget – not the most – but the most fruitful. Most of us in this industry, want to give the very best value.