A Brand Budget

How much should you, or must you, spend to brand your business?

The most common answer:  It depends!

The cost of marketing your products and/or services, through advertising, sales, promotions, or other avenues is related to your goals and objectives.  If your goals are indistinct or your objectives lack focus, the odds are that you will be wasting marketing dollars on ineffective vehicles.

For purposes of discussion, let’s assume you’ve built a convenience store off a high volume interchange on an interstate highway.  It should be apparent who your target market is, so why would you advertise in a phone directory in a community 50 miles away without easy access to your place of business?  While you may be able to justify the expense, in the mind of most business owners that would be wasted money.

If, on the other hand, you were able to invest that money in billboard advertising on the approaches to your exit, you are more likely to meet your objectives for sales.

What you spend to build your brand should be measurable and tied to the bottom line.  If your goal is to have your brand identified with the market segment comprised of men between 24 and 35 years of age, you can quantify how many of the male species lives in your targeted area.  You can also identify which media is most likely to garner a positive response from those men, and build brand loyalty.

It might take six months or six years to reach the level of penetration you desire for your brand, with many variables playing a role.  If you gain acceptance through a social media community, the time span can be shortened considerably.  A heftier advertising budget and well-placed commercials can also push up the acceptance.

An important consideration is to take the time to do some planning.  Think about what you want to accomplish and the best method to achieve it.  Allocate some funds to test the waters and measure the results.  If the campaign works, build on it.  If it doesn’t perform as expected, stop and think about what went wrong or could have been better.  Tweak it and try again, within budget constraints.  Measure the results.

If you operate blindly in spending your advertising dollars, you may wind up joining the thousands of other business owners who assert that advertising doesn’t work.  It does, if done correctly.  That’s what there are professionals for; to help you make the right decisions and use your marketing budget effectively.