The Grapevine

Wine Shop Marketing: Budget vs. Ad Hoc Spending

June 3rd, 2015

Clearly, you spend at least some money on marketing. (You couldn’t be reading this otherwise …) But do you have a marketing budget? Should you have a marketing budget? [level-members]

My guess is you think the answer to the second question is, “Yes, of course I should have a marketing budget.” But that may not be the case. Think about this: instead of deciding that you’re going to spend 1% or 2% or 10% of your revenue on marketing – which is how you’ll often see marketing spend measured – you might be better off spending an amount you’re comfortable with, devoting that budget to a particular set of initiatives, and measuring the return on each of those initiatives.

This can be easier said than done. A coupon sent in a mailer that requires the customer to present for a discount is going to be much easier to track than, say, the value of a single Facebook post or your sponsorship of a local youth soccer team. But all can be measured to some extent, and should be evaluated on terms that make sense for them.

So, while you can’t out a dollar value on the soccer team sponsorship, you can compare it to sponsorship of other organizations and activities in your area. You can ask or estimate the exposure you’re getting, assess the demographics, and decide which is the best fit. If neither seems to be working, you can look for other opportunities.

On the digital front, measurement is much easier, but insights are not. It can still be difficult to determine whether there’s value in your Facebook presence overall or in any particular post. But it is easy to see the activity and reactions you generate. So it’s worthwhile to experiment with different kinds of content, different posting times, the use of photos or drawings.

Sounds counterintuitive, not having a marketing budget, but as long as you don’t take the freedom as license to spend without a plan, it can be the most efficient and effective way to get a return on your marketing investment.

(By the way the 1%, 2%, and 10% numbers I mentioned above aren’t pulled from thin air. They are some pretty commonly cited figures for retail industry marketing, though even higher numbers are possible for startups, certain sectors of retail, etc. In other words, do what feels right and check the data to make sure your results align with your gut.) [/level-members]