What goes into a Marketing Budget?

Money Last week I was co-presenting a Web seminar for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) on the topic of "Increasing Marketing Effectiveness at Professional Firms." Joining me was my research partner, Suzanne Lowe of Expertise Marketing to present practical applications of our new research to marketers in the architecture, engineering and construction fields.

Then this unexpected question came up: Can you define marketing budgets?

Marketing is: communication addressed to groups of service buyers.  This is in contrast to business development or sales, which is: the selling of services to specific buyers (not necessarily new clients).  Typically the marketing budget includes the costs AND revenues (in order from most $ budgeted to least $) for:

*          Marketing department total compensation

*          Professional-client meals and entertainment

*          Tickets

*          Charitable and civic event sponsorships

*          Advertising

*          Events planning and execution

*          Collateral marketing materials

*          Directory listings

*          Charitable and civic dues and memberships

*          Public and media relations

*          Website design and maintenance

*          Presentations by professionals

*          Client gifts

*          Postage for marketing mailings

*          Holiday cards

*          Consultants on strategic planning and marketing

*          Marketing training

*          Marketing staff professional dues, meetings, travel

*          Firm network dues and expenses

*          Trade association dues and expenses

*          Marketing staff training

*          Marketing staff overtime

(Source: LMA Law Firm Marketing Budgets, 2001)

Many professional firms mush together business development and marketing; but the list above enumerates typical marketing Expenses. And what a lame list it is.

Not one of the activities showed up in our research among the nighest-ranked "best results" marketing and business development initiatives.  Most of them could be measured to demonstrate return-on-investment ("ROI") or very tangible outcomes.

If you're a marketer who wants to preseve her job, deserve a pay raise and make a difference at her firm, focus on activities that can be measured to show ROI. If it can't be measured, don't do it. Again, check out the research, "Increasing Marketing Effectiveness at Professional Firms."

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