I've counseled a lot of professionals over the years on the need to market consistently. The excuse I frequently hear is, "I can't afford it."
I've never quite understood that mindset. It's a little like a farmer who buys a helicopter to cruise around his holdings, but never has enough money for fertilizer.
In business, marketing is the way you make things happen. Marketing takes money. Since it does eat up a lot of cash, it's crucial that you put your money where it will do the most good.
Here are two strategies.
Take a systematic approach to building your marketing budget.
In any successful business, marketing is not optional. You must budget for it just as you budget for labor, equipment, facilities, and supplies.
Here are three good reasons:
- An effective marketing plan can provide the best return on investment of any expenditure you can make. You are investing your life in your profession because you believe in it. So why not invest your money in it?
- A proactive marketing strategy is the best hedge against business slumps, especially when the national economy slows down.
- A good marketing strategy gives you more control over the overall shape and growth pattern of your business. You can make good things happen, instead of just reacting to whatever happens.
You can't budget for marketing just by saying, "I'm going to spend X dollars on marketing during the next year." You must take complete charge of the way every dollar of your advertising budget is spent. This means devising a complete marketing plan, allocating the funds to implement it, then supervising the execution of every detail.
How much should you spend on marketing? That question brings up the next strategy for budgeting for maximum return.
Create a sound marketing budget formula, and stick with it.
Every business is unique, and each has its own most productive budgeting formula. You may budget on the basis of:
- A percentage of annual sales.
- A projected sales approach: Project the sales you want to generate, and estimate how much it will take to generate that much volume. Then allocate the funds needed.
- A percentage of your gross or net profits.
- A combination of all three of those factors.
It doesn't matter whether you use one of these specific formulas, but it is vital to have one that works well for you -- and that you use it consistently.
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