I said the "B Word"!
(NO, not THAT "B" word...you are soooo bad!)
B-U-D-G-E-T...the word that makes most advertisers shake and quake.
"What, exactly, do you mean by an advertising budget", she asked.
I said, "Well, we've talked several times and you have a couple of marketing/advertising needs. What have you budgeted for this line item in the past?"
Me: "Is that your budget number for this year? And what was in that "advertising line item?"
She: "Well, we don't actually budget funds for hard advertising and marketing. We prefer to make those decisions as we go along. But I think we'll be in that area this year. But we may add 5%."
Me: "You told me once you do four trade shows. Were expenses for trade shows in your numbers from last year?"
She: "Oh no, those were under 'Trade Shows'."
Me: "I see... What about brochures and signs for the shows."
She: "Yes, the signs were under trade shows but the brochures were under printing."
I asked how much steel they planned on buying next year and how much paint and...labor costs. All of those she had a budget line item for and could make a stab at forecasting. But marketing/advertising? Nah...they "sort of shoot from the hip".
We offered to play...but I think the BUDGET may have gotten in the way. You see, we wanted to help with that FIRST.
Other agencies might have taken them on...but our experience is that if you don't have a solid plan and if that plan is not shared...well. We think she'll be back at the same place next year wondering why they spent in excess of $60,000 (which I think is her 'real' marketing/advertising cost) and will not have much to show for it. Worse yet...is she doing the "right" things with her available dollars?
The first line of our website is, "The year is half over, made your plans for 2008 yet?"
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we too hate the thought of being "ruled" by a budget...but understand the need for a flexible plan.