Jackson’s Most Frequently Asked Questions: Brand Marketing

How much should I spend on marketing? How do you make a post go viral? Should I buy an ad in the Super Bowl?

As marketers, we get asked a lot of questions. And, a lot of times our answer is “that depends,” which we realize is probably pretty unhelpful. But there are a lot of things to consider when engaging in marketing endeavors, and no two clients are the same!

In this blog series, we intend to expound on why exactly “it depends,” and give some slightly more helpful answers to our most frequently asked questions. This week: Brand Marketing FAQs:

Q:  How much should I be spending on marketing / What should my marketing budget be?

A:  When an agency answers this question, we’re generally accused of trying to line our pockets. So when I answer, I use facts from The CMO Survey.  This decade-old annual survey of over 2,500 senior marketers at for-profit U.S. companies, is developed and fielded by a professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and includes sponsors such as Deloitte LLP and the American Marketing Association. So the info is legit. Here’s what they say:

  • In 2020, marketing spend as a percentage of overall company revenue was 11.4%. Over the 10-year period from 2011-2020, the average is 8%-9%.
  • If you look at marketing spend as a percentage of overall company budget, 2020 was 12.6% and the 10-year average is 10%-12%.
  • Annual year-to-year growth of marketing budgets has averaged 6%-9% over that same period, including 7.6% in 2020.

When looking at what is included in these marketing budgets, most companies include direct expenses of marketing activities, brand-related expenses, social media, marketing analytics and research, marketing training and marketing employees plus their overhead.  Things generally not included in these marketing budgets are sales employees, sales tools and sales activities.

Q:  How can we get more leads?

A:  It depends. It depends on your brand, your target audience and whether they are aware of you. If they are, it also depends on what they think about your brand or product. And finally, it depends on your message or offer. There are digital tactics we can employ to get your brand “clicks,” but if you really want leads, you must build your brand over time, and craft your immediate message in a way that resonates with your target and their needs.

Q:  Are trade shows really worth the investment (once they return in a post-COVID world)?

A:  Sometimes. The right show with the right goal can be a gold mine. On the other hand, showing up in an exhibit hall, throwing up a portable booth, hoping people stop by, and handing out koozies, is almost always a waste of time and money. The two major questions to ask are: (1) what am I trying to accomplish, and (2) what can I afford to do (at the show)? Once you determine your goals, generally having to do with meeting certain target prospects, try to identify shows that allow you to do this. But then comes the hard part; planning what you are going to do at the show to attract, engage with and motivate these prospects. This can include things like pre-show marketing, public relations, social media promotion, on-site digital geo-fencing, speaking engagements, social events, and targeted booth activities (celebrities, giveaways, etc.). And don’t forget that most shows are better for making contacts and opening doors, than for doing business. Which makes post-show follow-up as critical as pre-show planning.