“What’s the best use of my ad budget?”

I get this question quite a bit and it’s definitely changed over the years.  In fact, it’s different every time I get it asked to me.  My refrain is this, ‘If it was my marketing budget, what would I do?’

I get this question quite a bit and it’s definitely changed over the years.  In fact, it’s different every time I get it asked to me.

My refrain is this,

If it was my marketing budget, what would I do?

Of course this comes with the assumption that I know YOUR marketplace.  And that’s a big if.  I see a lot of vendors that sell one or two of the following; SEM, SEO, video, creative, email’s or traditional media.

But how much do they know a client’s market?  If they sell online attributes, how much do they know about your creative execution?  If they know traditional, what do they know about your online audience?  If you want reassess your marketing to determine a budget, below are five categories to consider.

  1. What’s your trade area?

    1. Don’t know? Start by looking at a map of you vs. your competitors.

    2. Check your Google Analytics for your online footprint.  How much traffic is coming each month?  How does compare to my competitors.  Where are your sessions coming from geographically and referrals?

    3. Sales by zip codes will help you discover opportunities.

  2. Who’s your competition?

      There are 2 areas to consider;
    1. Online and offline
      1. If you determined your trade area, you should be able to tackle this easily.  

      2. Now check the competitions selling props and where they are spending their ad budgets.

  3. What are your goals?

    1. Do you have a sales objective? What’s your closing percentage?  You can usually back into your budget based on rudimentary math.

    2. Maintain or grow market share?  Be truthful.  Volume leader or profitability?  Be true to yourself when answering this.

  4. What DMA are you in?

    1. Depending on the size of your media market will determine whether you can afford traditional media or strictly online media.  The rule of thumb is the larger the area, the lower the CPM.  But if you live in a major metro, you will waste money if your trade area doesn’t cover at least 50% of the DMA.   Unless your Unique Selling Proposition is a game changer, not very many customers will drive past 2-3 other competitors to get to your store.

    2. What’s your USP? And don’t tell me we treat our customers better.   That’s great for getting them to come back.  I want to know if you have a unique selling proposition and if not, you need one.  Check other markets if you don’t have one?  It may not be unique to your vertical but may be to your market.

After you’ve gathered the above five items, you will be able to begin formulating a marketing plan with a fiscally responsible budget to follow month in and out.  If your vendor isn’t asking you these questions or giving you this information, then they aren’t really interested in growing your market. 

If you truly ready to answer them, give us a call and we’ll help you along the way.