How Not To Set Your Marketing Budget for 2008

The most expensive marketing mistake you will ever make is to wait until you can afford it to get started.  Yet time and again I hear fledgling business owners who know what they need to be doing to market their business tell me that they will get started just as soon as they can afford it.  If you wait long enough to invest in marketing, your business will die waiting. 

As we near the end of the calendar – and what for many is also the end of their fiscal year – I’m getting more questions about setting a plan and a budget for 2008. So I’d like to remind you of what not to do: 

  1. Wait until you can afford to invest in marketing is the worst possible marketing plan. Some other expense will always come up and you will never get around to it. We have all seen businesses die on the vine before they made obvious investments in marketing. Don’t become a statistic. 
  2. Allocate what’s left over to marketing. We’ve all heard the scripture that instructs the giver to offer a tithe BEFORE paying other expenses. While there is no business bible with magic instructions on how to allocate revenues, investing just what is left over at the end of the month is really not much better than waiting until you can afford it. 
  3. Make impulse decisions. For those of you who don’t know me, I am infamous for my criticism of making impulse purchases from whatever short-skirt (or their alluring male counterpart) walks in the door. This is an extremely common problem for business owners with retail store fronts who are constantly confronted with what I jokingly refer to as the short-skirt syndrome.   

Q: Do you know what marketing tools that you buy from short-skirted sales people have in common with ready-to-eat meals from Publix? 

 A: They both look great when you buy them but fail to satisfy your requirements later.

Now before you take offense at the mild adult humor remember that I’m using this illustration to try and help you remember this point: programs that sound too good to be true often are just that. And decisions made in haste will likely fail to meet your marketing objectives later.

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