Over 2500+ years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: “Change is the only constant”, and this could not be truer in today’s world, especially on the marketing battlefield for Mindshare and Market share.
Businesses consistently strive to overcome marketing inefficiencies and create sustainable growth. Most of them realize all too well that the traditional way of investing in marketing and marketing budget allocating has to change. This need to change is driven by many factors including customers and their ever-changing behaviors. Customer preferences and biases make sales a lot harder. Access to the internet and rapid evolution of technology has shifted the balance of power into the hands of customers. Customers demand that brands have a purpose, as much as they require brands to actively and authentically engage with them, if there is new business to be won.
Related Reading: Customer Profiling, Active Listening, Customer Pain Points, Customer Biases, Behavioural Psychology
Marketing VS Sales
Marketing looks at the big picture. Sales looks at more short-term goals/ results and therefore is more transactional in nature.
The role of marketing is to build awareness of the organisation (its products, services and solutions) in the eyes and minds of potential customers. The role of Sales is to turn the viewership that marketing generated into profit, by converting those potential customers into actual paying customers.
Marketers focus on creating and reinforcing brand familiarity with new customers, re-familiarizing with old customers, exploring new and better ways to reach customers and distinguishing the brand’s products/ services with unique stories that Inform, Involve and Motivate prospect customers to buy. Sales focuses on reducing the last-mile friction at the customer’s wallet. Sales’ goals and targets are determined by how much the business needs to sell on a monthly/ quarterly basis to ensure continuous sustainability and profit.
Marketing strategies are based on gathering informations about potential customers, their wants, needs, desires, likes, dislikes, biases etc. And then using this information to create campaigns that target these prospects. Sales strategies are based on connecting with potential customers (via phone calls, physical meetings etc.), engaging with them to listen and pitch a solution.
Marketing takes time to realize its impact. Sales works faster.
Most prospect customers respond better to marketing and marketers. Not many people respond well to sales and sales people.
Marketing generates Marketing Qualified Leads that can be filtered down to Sales Qualified Leads which can be given to the Sales Team to close, thereby reducing the time to close the sale. Traditional Sales relies heavily on cold calls. They spend more time on poor leads and therefore require more effort to close a lead.
The Integrated Future of Marketing and Sales
Related Reading: The Real Marketing Funnel, Selling from your Why, Ethical Marketing, Buyer’s Value Journey, Marketing Tactics, The Incredible Power of Story Telling, Marketing with Empathy, Building Marketing Momentum, Marketing Tactics Playbook
How does one go about setting a marketing budget?
Allocating a marketing budget can be difficult. The battle between marketing, finance and management continues simply because marketing always feels the budgets are too small, finance feels that budgets are too large, management knows that marketing is required but doesn’t know if the tactics allocation is correct and going to give the desired outcome. Before allocating a marketing budget it is prudent to define the business objectives and marketing strategy first and then evaluate all current marketing expenses that the business incurs.
Defining the Objectives
Identifying your businesses marketing goals (i.e. Short-term and Long-term) and what will be the success metric against each business goal.
Related Reading: Value Creation, PLOT Strategies, Rebuilding your Tribe, Sustainable Strategies for Business Growth, Building Trust
Understanding your buyer personas
Understanding your market and its socio-economic and competitive environment
Evaluating the effectiveness of your existing marketing initiatives and their corresponding expenses
Optimizing your efforts and choosing marketing channels (i.e. Off-line, On-line, Inbound, Outbound, Brand Awareness, Tactical Campaigns etc.).
Related Reading: Multi Channel Marketing, Marketing Mix, Paid (Digital) Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Driving E-Commerce Traffic
“Allocate 10% of marketing spends towards new or untested activities; 20% towards potential effective activities that just need tweaking; and 70% towards activities that have been proved to be effective.”
The 4 most common marketing costs are
Software used by Marketing (i.e. CRM, Automation Tools, email service providers, web hosting, and other related tools used in managing daily marketing activities).
Employees, Marketing Partners and Freelancers (i.e. salaries, retainer fees, project fees etc. that are paid).
Advertising Expenses (i.e. All paid advertising expenses including Off-line, On-line, Production, Media etc.).
Miscellaneous (i.e. All expenses outside of Advertising expenses. Example, promotions, discounts, content creation, market research, events etc.).
Once you are aware of your existing marketing expenses, you can implement a specific marketing budget model or a combination thereof.
Marketing Budget Model 1: Percentage of Sales
This model is most preferred by established small businesses as it draws directly from sales outcomes. In this model, businesses allocate between 20-35% of sales towards their new marketing budget.
Marketing Budget Model 2: Objective to Task
This model is usually preferred by established matured/ large business as it allows marketing to focus on the business’s primary goals while keeping a close eye on marketing expenses against overall marketing objectives. Marketers decide on the objective to be accomplished and the resources necessary to achieve that goal. Budgets are allocated estimating the time, effort and resources needed for successful completion.
Marketing Budget Model 3: Competitive Parity
This model is arrived at by comparison of competitor’s spends in relation to the business or business segment. Essentially, businesses that seek to match the advertising expenditure of their competition in order to stay competitive. This model can have a higher risk for two reasons:
The business can only see competitor activities that are public and not more subtle or internal investments.
Copying competition does not necessarily guarantee success.
Marketing Budget Model 4: Affordable or Top-Down
This model is arrived at by businesses allocating marketing budgets basis what they can afford. This model can have the following risks:
It is unreliable as it doesn’t rely on a special goal or historic data.
It can result in businesses not being able to do all the necessary activities it needs to do to achieve its full and true potential.
Related Reading: Marketing Automation
Which marketing budget model should you use basis your Businesses Lifestage?
If your business is a fresh Startup then it is better to implement the Objective to Task Model Vs. Percentage of Sales. This is because you have no sales and a good marketing agency will not be willing to do work for free even if you are willing to give them equity.
If your business is an established small-to-medium business then implement a Percentage of Sales. By leveraging a hybrid percentage of sales model (i.e. part fixed, part variable) you can get a good agency to work with your business and grow together. Leveraging free tier CRM tools and other free tier marketing automation tools, your business can slowly build up and grow.
If your business is an established large business then a combination of the 4 models might be the best way forward, depending on the business growth goals. New initiatives could follow the Affordable model, while market expansion or new product launches might require the Competitive Parity Model.
Global Marketing Budget break downs
Every business is different; its customers are different, customer targeting is different; value propositions are different. Therefore it is impossible to have a universal marketing budget allocation model or formula. Some industries have a primary focus leveraging social media and influencer marketing; some prefer traditional mediums like television, radio, newspapers, magazines etc.; while others allocate all their budgets towards digital advertising. It is important to consider how your marketing budget impacts other aspects of the business, for example Cash Flow - some initiatives require payment upfront, Sales Funnels - how much is being allocated towards each aspect of the sales funnel. A good rule of thumb would be to allocate up to 20% on brand awareness, up to 20% on lead nurturing and remarking and up to 60% on direct response. The objective behind arriving at and implementing a marketing budget model is to help unshackle marketing, enable your business to overcome marketing inefficiencies and create sustainable growth.
Trigger Worldwide is a Brand Marketing Agency, built specifically for businesses to create Sustainable Growth. Our proprietary tools and process methodologies harness Technology, Creativity & Innovation, leverage Economic Drivers and Consumer Beliefs to help businesses overcome marketing inefficiencies and achieve their Growth Agendas.
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