Most people/businesses are making their budgets with a single minded objective and it’s hurting their future potential. Frankly it is short sighted, but the good news is, it’s not a big leap to change.
As an advertising agency we see a lot of businesses that are performance centric – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The call for immediate return on investment is completely understandable. I used to be the exact same way – everything should be measured and accountable.
Except that approach is limiting. And the more I’ve experimented with looking further afield I’ve realised it’s much harder to get where you want to go when you’re only looking one step ahead. It’s very prudent to look at the ground in front of you to avoid a tumble – but every 10 steps look to the horizon. That’s the last analogy I’m going to use now.
I’m advocating that you borrow a concept from an investing strategy and apply it to a marketing budget. Most financial planners, which I’m most certainly not, suggest that you diversify your risk with a small portion of your investment going towards high risk – high reward, another portion to medium risk and then most to low risk. I’m suggesting that you take the lion’s share of your budget and chase the low risk stuff – the performance part. Then – diversify. Look to a small percentage that is purely about traffic – grow site visits. And most importantly spend the rest on awareness and reaching as many people as you can.
It’s about balancing the outlook of your marketing budget. By all means spend most of your budget on the immediate return style marketing we’re all used to. Balance it with a portion dedicated to improving your reach and to driving traffic.
There’s a great saying:
You can’t convert those you don’t reach
It’s hardly a Mark Twain quote, but it is in its essence: radical common sense.
When it comes to reporting your marketing budget – it does mean that there is more nuance.
You won’t be able to draw back profitable returns to your awareness strategy – for a few reasons. One big one is attribution. Often when people become aware of a brand they don’t just fork over cash all within an easily measurable time frame. The other – chances are people will run into your ‘lower funnel’ marketing and get swallowed up by the masses. Trying to measure your awareness through sales or lead volume is going a little like asking a cat to bark. The job of awareness marketing is to raise awareness. The same can be said for consideration activity – it’s about generating traffic, so measure it accordingly.
To really look at growing your brand and business – start treating your advertising budget like an investment portfolio. Diversify your marketing activity, plan and report on it with the metrics that suit the objective.