How Much Should I Budget for Marketing?

What’s the first rule in determining your marketing budget? If you don’t know, congratulations, because there is no hard and fast rule. While 10 percent of revenue is a popular figure, budgeting should be a process that revolves around your company’s specific situation, goals and requirements.

According to one CMO survey published by the American Marketing Association and Duke University, the averages for marketing investment as a percentage of revenue by business type were:

  • B2B Product Businesses: 10.6%
  • B2B Service Businesses: 10.1%
  • B2C Product Businesses: 16.3%
  • B2C Service Businesses: 10.9%

There are many considerations for planning your marketing budget from ground zero. In addition to your projected gross revenue, your industry and business stage are primary considerations. Newer companies trying to build recognition for emerging brands among markets that don’t know them may need a larger budget. More established brands may require a smaller budget to maintain market familiarity. Many businesses allocate up to 3-5 percent of projected gross revenues for start-up marketing and 2-3 percent of actual or projected gross revenues for run-rate marketing.

Certainly underfunding marketing is a mistake, but proper budget allocation is just as crucial to ensure you cover key bases. First consider the two broad buckets—brand development through your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc. and promoting your business (campaigns, public relations, social media, advertising, events, etc.). Then home in on the specific areas contained in these buckets. The actual amount for each area depends on the age and size of your company, product goals, and reach (national, local, global). Your buckets may include the following:

  • Branding
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Content Development
  • Events

Align Budget with Goals & Measure Results

Your budget allocation should align to your marketing plan, which explains how you are going to achieve marketing goals within a certain timeframe. The budget needs to be somewhat flexible for accommodating unplanned opportunities and needs, such as a lead-generation campaign to boost sagging sales or an event sponsorship. And while marketing plans should be created/updated annually at a minimum, launching a new product/service and changes in the market landscape changes (a frequent occurrence today) requires reassessment of a plan.

Don’t forget about a plan to measure how the activities you’ve budgeted for are impacting marketing goals. You may need to adjust your budget on the fly based on actual results, so stay on top of them monthly with readily available analytics including but not limited to:

  • How many product inquiries and sales leads were generated, and what is the potential value of those leads?
  • How many deals were closed and at what value?
  • How much did website visitor traffic grow? Did the number of page views and time spent on your website increase?
  • How many subscribers signed up for your blog? How many new Twitter followers did you add?

Budgeting for annual, semi-annual or even quarterly research into your target market helps ensure that budgeted activities are reaching and impacting them. The results of this effort are extremely helpful in allocating future budgets that are based on real market perception.

Determining and allocating your budget sets the stage for your success. We know what has worked for our clients. And we can help you create a communications plan that meets your budget and achieves your goals. So let’s talk. Call us at 651-247-6640.

Will “good old” values survive the new age of communications?

Will “good old” values survive the new age of communications? It’s a good question. Look around. Society encourages us to do more in less time—at home and at work. We teach our kids to mimic the behavior we abhor. We entice them with cell phones, video distractions in motor vehicles, and dinner accompanied by television— interferences that limit opportunities to engage future generations in dialog about life and the art of conversation.

At work we utilize new and engaging technology to do more faster. We label this “efficient”. We text peers about projects in the works while attending meetings about projects to come. We email, search Google, and post to social media while participating in webinars. We want immediate answers to our questions and want to skip the supporting material. The art of communication has given way to 140 characters and has superseded communicating clearly in importance.

I work with some pretty amazing people—smart and successful business professionals required to interact with a variety of people at all levels. However, as a communications professional, I find myself cringing at the lack of attention to professional courtesy, manners and I’m just going to say it…grammar. Our leaders of tomorrow can’t write and often come across as flippant, terse and even rude.

Now I know the new age of communications has forced its hand, and individuals are just trying to be efficient, but please. Does it take that much time to re-read an email and make sure words are spelled correctly and that it supports professional decorum?

This isn’t just a business phenomenon. It’s graduation time. My husband and I have received thank you notes from some pretty amazing kids that are getting ready to start the next phase of their lives. However, as we read the letters, it was apparent just how much we’re failing them. Riddled with grammar and spelling errors and rarely longer than two sentences, we were clobbered with insincerity and thoughtlessness. Perhaps it wasn’t meant that way, but people don’t remember what you say. They remember how you make them feel. Graduation thank you notes are early networking tools, with long lasting impressions.

I fear we’re raising a generation with high expectations that call for an immediate return on investment before actually putting in the hard work or effort. Is this realistic? Can we as a society support this? What we view as rude we excuse in our youth. We need to expect more from future generations. Civility and manners are important in communications. Let’s set a good example and encourage high standards.

Old Values for a New Age?

Without the brilliant comedy of late night talk show hosts, the decline of America’s social fabric would weigh more heavily on me. My longing for a kinder, gentler society that values civility would no doubt drive me insane. I wonder if others share the feeling that America has “lost it”?

“It” is how we engage and communicate with each other—a critical piece of our humanity. This isn’t about politics or sexually explicated language. It’s about the deterioration of basic politeness and rational action evidenced in our most basic cultural forms: musical lyrics that spew hate and advocate violence; tweeted aspersions; infiltration of such fare on prime time TV and radio (particularly talk shows). It’s a maleficent menu that includes road rage and offensive gestures.

As a communications professional who has for decades made a living carefully choosing words, I am concerned—no, deeply afraid—where displays of disrespect may be leading us. I envision a slippery slope. After all, it was shocking to hear that four-letter word for the first time in a business conversation, but it doesn’t take long to become de-sensitized.

While I applaud the open nature of the internet and social media for myriads of opportunities, I have serious misgivings about the lack of personal accountability for published information. Should candor entail abuse? Should honesty give way to rude behavior?

Our language reveals who we are as individuals and who we are as a culture and society. What’s to become of “us”?

SOCIAL MEDIA: Beware of Diluting Your Brand, One Post at a Time

Obsession with Selfies is just one example of a heightened awareness today around personal branding. It’s a force for guardians of company and product reputations to reckon with, including employers, marketing departments and public relations firms.

Read More.

Schwegman Communications Expands Media Relations and Strategic Brand and Product Marketing Talent Base to Meet Fast-Growing Demand for Services

MINNEAPOLIS, May 13, 2014—Schwegman Communications, a provider of comprehensive communications services that connect organizations with their markets, media, employees and shareholders, today announced that Elisabeth Grant and Meghan AuBuchon have joined its network of independent professionals to meet the needs of its fast-growing client list.

 

Grant has more than 20 years of experience providing marketing, PR, and media and analyst relations strategy services to clients across the U.S. Prior to becoming a consultant, she spent seven years at Fourth Shift (subsequently SoftBrands, now Infor), where she was responsible for media and industry analyst outreach as well as internal and external communications. Under her leadership, editorial coverage increased by 300%. Grant’s mix of agency and client-side experience, along with her deep roots in the IT and healthcare industries, brings a wealth of B2B and B2C experience to the Schwegman team.
A B2B and B2C strategic brand and product-marketing consultant, AuBuchon was previously vice president of marketing for Winland, where she drove the vision and execution of an organizational rebrand, product launch, channel and reseller sales programs, and go-to-market strategy for its transition to a SaaS-based service provider. As director of marketing communications for PeopleNet, AuBuchon initiated and led innovative market and customer communication programs that resulted in increase in industry exposure, in addition to a 37 percent leap in lead generation. She led the company into social media and elevated PeopleNet’s annual user conference to attract 1,000-plus customers, prospects, and trucking industry representatives, including media, government, and other product and service providers.

 

About Schwegman Communications

Schwegman’s aggressive communications strategies deliver visibility, versatility, and value through customized marketing, public relations, employee, and shareholder programs designed to meet business goals. Delivering compelling content through a variety of communications vehicles, Schwegman boosts brand awareness, and supports sales with effective positioning, publicity and promotion. For more information about Schwegman Communications, visit www.schwegmancommunications.com or call 651-247-6640.