Advertising Basics: I Don't Have An Advertising Budget

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - by Clint Powell
Clint Powell
Clint Powell

I am at the Starbucks on Brainerd Road one day and one of my media reps commented that I drink a lot of coffee.  I do.  But of course, I denied it and said I drink the average amount. It got me thinking so for the next day or so I made mental notes…and yes I drank (still do) a lot of coffee. More than average.  However, I wasn’t super aware of it until she pointed it out. I hope this brief article will help some folks be more aware of their advertising and marketing. 

Over the years I have talked with hundreds of business owners and decision makers about their advertising and marketing budget. You would be amazed at how many of them tell me they don’t really have an ad or marketing budget. I just smile and keep asking them questions (if you ever work with a marketing person who doesn’t ask a lot of questions…run). What typically transpires during our talk is a pretty amazing thing. They do have a budget. 

Now it’s not on paper.  It’s not on the books.  But here is how it normal goes. 

Me – ‘What do you do to market and advertise?’  Client ‘Nothing really. We have tried a few things, but nothing sticks.’ Me – ‘Things like what?’ Client – ‘Well we tried radio for a few months…nothing. Then we ran a few ads in the paper last year. And we ran some TV stuff over the weekends because it was cheap.’  

As we talk I realize they ran radio on the wrong station – the paper ad was tucked away in the land of the lost and they had no real reason to run it to begin with – they ran on TV over a few weekends and the ad said call them now, but they aren’t open on the weekends. Plus we found out they sponsor three little league teams, spend money on business cards for four employee several times a year, have a phone service for folks while they hold,  have print materials they hand out, do a few expos each year, etc. 

You get the point…they do spend money on advertising and marketing…but there is no intentionality behind it. It’s haphazard. So when your plans are chaotic it’s hard to measure or see any real progress or growth. When there is no real plan there should be no real expectations. 

If you’re great at selling widgets and you start trying to buy advertising or put together a marketing plan, it can be tricky. Think about it, there are over 25 radio stations in the Chattanooga market, several print options, a number of local magazines, many couponing opportunities, four broadcast TV stations, several cable options, a number of billboard companies, video and mobile marketing, web banners, not to mention social media, direct mail, event marketing, etc. We are hit with over 3,000 advertising messages every day.  Every day.  

We don’t take vacations without planning the trip. We pick a destination and then we map it out. We know where to stop, we know when rush hours are, we know what roads to take and which ones to avoid and we have an expected time of arrival. Many business owners just spend money on ‘things’ because they know they need to be doing something. 

It’s not really my clients fault, they are busy. They have payroll, they have schedules, employee issues, meetings, the day-to-day tasks of keeping a business running. Plus it isn’t what they do. Being great in one industry doesn’t make you great in another. I know lots of great mechanics who have no idea about marketing – but no one comes to me to fix their car either.

There are three things you can do right now to help get your marketing under control.  

1) 1) Be intentional. Don’t just give it the leftover dollars and scraps of time. Find marketing and advertising professional you trust and pull all the numbers together. Talk goals and destination and then develop a road map on how to get there. Be intentional about everything you do. Leaving it to chance is a great opportunity for your competition to stake the ground and claim the hill.  

2) Set a marketing budget and set an advertising budget. Usually the ad budget will be between 3-20 percent of your gross. I know that sounds like a big swing, but it depends on the industry and it depends on the goals and duration of the campaign. (The core average will fall between 8-15 percent).

3) Let them do their job. Trust them. You are good at what you do, if you find someone you trust and has a track record of success, let them do what their good at. 

Next week we will talk about controlling what you can control, the four things that will help set your advertising up for success. 

Clint Powell – Connect Marketing – www.connectchattanooga.com – 505-1014


(Clint Powell is owner of Connect Marketing in Chattanooga. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman College and also has his real estate license. After nine years in radio advertising sales and management he decided a new challenge was in order and he built Scenic Outdoor Media, a billboard company. Scenic Outdoor specialized in billboard placement and advertising. He sold that company in 2007 and started working on a contract basis with local ad agencies helping formulate strategies and writing ad copy for local and regional companies. Clint has worked with hundreds of local and regional companies over the years and helped them develop advertising and marketing campaigns. He frequently leads marketing and advertising seminars and meetings for businesses and network groups. He believes that life is all about connections and spends his time connecting businesses and business owners to solutions. He sits on the board of Y-Cap (YMCA Community Action Program) and helps with several other non-profits. Clint currently resides in East Ridge with his wife and three children.)





New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: ALL AMERICAN PRESSURE WASHING LLC 5704 TAGGART DRIVE HIXSON, TN 37343 AMERICA LATINO 1813 E  23RD ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37404 BAGGETT CONSTRUCTION 10873 WARD RD SODDY DAISY, TN 37379 BANFIELD PET HOSPITAL #0639 2130 GUNBARREL RD CHATTANOOGA, TN 37421 BETTER THAN EVER 6116 ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Presents Business Calendar For Feb. 6-13

MON/2.8- Ribbon Cutting for Sonic Drive-In 12:00 p.m. Sonic Drive-In: 3508 Dayton Blvd Join the Chattanooga Chamber for a ribbon cutting at Sonic Drive-In TUES/2.9- Hixson Community Coffee 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Hixson Youth and Family Development Center: 5400 School Drive Join the Hixson Council for their monthly coffee at: Hixson Youth and Family ... (click for more)

Criminal Defense Attorneys Seek Chest X-Ray, Barrel As Evidence In 34-Year-Old Murder Case

In the 34-year-old unsolved murder case that recently spotlighted Billy Hawk as the prime suspect, criminal defense attorneys are seeking forensic proof, which does not change with time, to prove Hawk’s innocence. During Monday’s discovery motion, filed on behalf of the defense to obtain certain evidence, defense attorney Jim Logan requested the victim’s chest X-ray be submitted ... (click for more)

Brandon Bettis, 25, Arrested For Home Invasion; 2 Other Suspects Being Sought

Brandon Bettis, 25, was arrested after a home invasion early Monday morning, and two other suspects are being sought. Chattanooga Police responded to the 1100 block of Thomas Lane at 6:30 a.m. on the report of a home invasion robbery.  The suspects entered the home of the victims, James Shrum, 47, and Hillary Schooley, 25.   The victims were wakened and threatened ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (2)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)