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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Organized For A Living" - Article

Budgeting Your Marketing Dollars

Until recently, I served the Music industry as a record promoter and media publicist. After having begun my own music career as a recording artist and successfully self-marketing my first recording, I realized how few artists had any clue about business or promoting their music - particularly how much they should be SPENDING on marketing. Though not nearly as bad as in the music industry, I still see the lack of proper marketing budgeting as a significant problem among traditional business owners as well.

There is a long-standing thought that, whether the economy is in good or bad condition, business owners should always ACTIVELY market and promote their products. However, most cease actively promoting their products or services during distressed economies. And, this is the absolute poorest way to "budget" your marketing and promotional dollars for your business.So, let us utilize the example of any new product that you currently have that you feel will change the world for the better…

Who are the main people who NEED your product or service most? What populations will benefit from what you have to offer? People who say their market is "everyone" haven't given the matter enough thought and will be wasting their promotional dollars. You can't afford to market to everyone (unless you are Coca Cola!) -- and most businesses wouldn't want to, not when you can get more bang for your buck by concentrating your efforts on your most likely customers. Figure out your NICHE -- the specific populations you want to reach first because they have the greatest potential of using your company. Once you determine this, you then need to determine all the ways you can reach these people.

Your first line of marketing and promotion defense should be publicity. Many people confuse publicity with advertising -- however, they are not the same. Publicity allows you to get your information out to the public via the MEDIA -- for the most part, without cost. Your only costs are time and production of promotional materials for the media. Publicity is available from radio, television, print and online sources alike. Simply determine the number of sources within each of these media sectors that you can afford to send your promotional materials to, then ITEMIZE your budget accordingly.

Additionally, media audiences, generally, give more interest to, and perceive "publicity" items as more important than "advertised" items. This is because there is the sense that the media in which it is presented is ENDORSING the product or service. And, for the most part, this is correct because the media generally reviews the item prior to placing its proverbial stamp of approval on it via publication.

However, the caveat emptor in trying to procure publicity is that your information must be considered "NEWSWORTHY," as opposed to presenting itself as just another item for sale. The best way to qualify your business, product or service as news, is to either TIE IN (make a connection) to a current news item, or to present it as a problem-solver for some sector of society.

Your second line of defense is "advertising." Though you may be in a financial position to execute both publicity and advertising simultaneously, ideally (in the interest of budgeting), it is financially advantageous to apply your EARNINGS from your publicity results to your advertising campaign. This process is a perfect example of making your money work for itself, and eliminates the necessity of your utilizing personal funds for capital in your marketing and promotion. Once you are involved in the "advertising" portion of your media campaign, in the further interest of budgeting, first determine the SIZE and degree of ad that you wish to present to your prospective clients or customers.

For example, let's use the print media, as your cost will be determined by the amount of space you require:
  • How much content will be enough to CONVINCE readers to buy your product?

  • After creating an ad, can you now reasonably reduce its content, in the interest of saving money, while delivering the same message, and more SUCCINCTLY?

  • In determining a budget, should your ad be presented in the format of a simple classified line ad? Or can you possibly achieve greater RESULTS with a classified display ad that includes a border, larger fonts, bold or underline features? Or perhaps even a more prominent graphic ad on a separate page in the publication? Which will best attract the kinds of customers you desire?

  • How LONG should you run the ad before determining its success or failure?

  • What ELEMENTS will you use to determine its success or failure? Will it be the number of responses, number of paying customers, or total dollars it generates?

  • How will you TRACK the success of your ad? Keep track of the number of people who respond to it?

As you see, there are far more considerations to apply when creating a marketing or promotion budget than simply coming up with an abstract FIGURE, then throwing caution to the wind, so to speak. Perhaps, this information can serve its intended purpose in getting you to consider your own budget with greater emphasis.


Kenny Love is an internationally syndicated business writer and business owner of and Love's Gifts. Visit his website at and

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