SAN FRANCISCO — When the subject of a marketing budget arises, it is natural to think first about the monetary cost of a sound marketing plan. However, beyond the dollar allocation, other resources must also be apportioned to this essential activity.

Time must be earmarked for analysis of the impact of various strategies and for the judicious allocation of funds between media and dissemination channels. Design talent must be provided for maximum impact of branding, coordination and immediate call-to-action when appropriate. Specific messaging and professional copywriting must be managed.

All aspects need to be considered to identify a realistic and effective approach to your optimal promotional plan.

MONETARY COMMITMENT

“It’s common for small businesses with revenues less than $5 million to allocate 7-8% of their revenues to marketing, splitting that between brand development costs such as websites, blogs, sales collateral, and promotion costs, as well as campaigns, advertising, and events.”

(https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2017/05/02/6-steps-to-developing-a-small-business-marketingbudget/# 6ec1b3a6355c)

This small business average is much higher than the norm in drycleaning and laundry companies. My own research, recently surveying both MfM members and nonmembers, shows that typically,

1. The average industry marketing budget is well under 3% of sales revenue, and

2. There is a direct correlation between the size of the marketing budget and the sales growth of the company.

An exception to the industry average exists in some larger chains that require their affiliates to contribute up to 7% on brand marketing, with additional local promotional spending of up to 2% of revenues.

Regardless of size or organizational affiliate, marketing should be viewed as an investment instead of a cost. Past and future returns on that investment should be analyzed like any other return on investment, be it equipment, staff, vehicles or locations.

By comparison, sadly, a common approach in fabricare is to base the marketing budget simply on what’s left over after covering all other expenses. This approach often leads to abandonment of marketing at the first sign of a downturn when promotion is most needed to expand share of market.

The most successful promoters are taking an approach that is both art and science, and funding it with resources of time, capital and talent.

SCIENCE OF RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

“Reports of the retail apocalypse are all around us. Every week, new headlines proclaim a highly distressed retail industry and another Chapter 11 casualty. The reality is that winners and losers have emerged. On one hand, disruptions in consumer behavior, technology, competition, and economics have transformed the retail market considerably, and many brands haven’t risen to the challenge.

On the other hand, these disruptions have opened floodgates of opportunity for brands to grow their relationships with shoppers.”

(https://www.salesforce.com/form/content/consumerexperience-report/)

Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association: “The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Since customers are at the heart of the definition, targeting the “right” customers and prospects is key to a successful promotional effort. That is where science in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is useful.

An example of AI starts with your POS system to identify your top customers, who are then profiled providing a description of those customers based on an extensive set of attributes.

Our experience indicates that less than 5% of the fabricare industry is taking advantage of these advanced marketing tools in a meaningful way.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.