Another look at how much you should invest on your marketing: Yes, it depends

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how much should you spend
A slide from Adams Hudson's webinar presentation indicating potential marketing allocation breakdowns
how much should you spend
A slide from Adams Hudson’s webinar presentation indicating potential marketing allocation breakdowns.

Perhaps one of the commonest questions business owners ask is: “How much of my budget should be dedicated to marketing, and of these funds, how should I allocate them?” These are certainly reasonable questions, and rightfully you will be skeptical of answers from anyone with a self-interested response, especially marketing services and media.  I mean, if you ask a website designer or print-media publisher, you would expect different results — or, even to keep current with trends, the print publisher might suggest a combination strategy of print and pay-per-click advertising, when a simple and effective (and inexpensive if done right) website redesign would do much better.

However, I like what Adams Hudson has done for his primary market of residential HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors. Hudson acknowledges times have changed from when he earned his reputation largely as a Yellow Pages copywriter and designer. By 2007-08, the rules had shifted into a much more complicated metrics, where the media drivers and character of marketing shifted. Hudson has retained true to form in his interest focus, so while many of the general concepts would be the same for the various AEC marketing sectors, you should still be very careful in extrapolating his residential certified trades to other communities.

In a direct response piece after a webinar he conducted with another business consultant, Hudson offers some free take-aways and I really liked his documents, separated for HVAC, plumbing and electrical, that start off a psychological survey and then breakdown advice based on whether you should consider yourself an aggressive, moderate or conservative marketer.

For HVAC, for example, he outlines marketing profiles ranging from 2.5 per cent of sales (conservative low-end) to 8 per cent (aggressive). He then breaks things down by individual media/services. I’m not sure about the science behind his specific breakdowns — personally, I wouldn’t spend eight per cent of my budget on television marketing, especially if I were conservative — I still think there is value in the benchmark numbers he provides, including the overall perspective of different marketing concepts. I also think he is wise to suggest varying approaches depending on your business personality.

I hope he won’t object, but I’m providing here a link to his “landing page” from the webinar. Obviously, he provides a fee-based marketing consultancy, but I don’t have an interest or share in the results.

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