Marketing can be expensive, flashy, over the top. And more often than not – it does not need to be.

Time and again I get calls or have meetings where my potential client has no clue as to what they intend to do or how much to spend. Or worse, they look at something I have done in the past and want a carbon copy.

When you have worked out the who, one of the things you should also think about, is how far and wide does you advertising need to go, to let them know about you.

Then consider how much it’s actually worth to get them on board.

Sometimes, just a simple targeted letter is enough, other times; a broad based TV commercial campaign is the only way to go.

What I say – Just be realistic. Think about what advertising actually works on you.

And then build a budget that makes sense, for a campaign not a once off item.

There are many ways to get attention. Commercials, flyers, newspaper adverts, standing out on the street yelling at people, ideas are endless really.

The tricky method I have put first. Generally when it comes to print advertising, you can get a quote over the phone. Commercials can have a range of costs jump out of nowhere.

Actors, sets, council permits, stunts, catering, editing. It all adds up. So before even going to video, consider if a simple letter or advert in the local paper is enough.

And even if you do want to do video, would a simple camcorder be enough to do the job. If your target is small, and all you want to do is introduce your business, why not just have a go yourself. The raw authenticity of this approach can work.

Again, be realistic. Video production can get expensive quite fast. So be aware of what your target market is, what works on them, and how much they are worth to you. Your budget should be based on a campaign, a concentrated effort, not a hodge podge.

Small business often fall into buying advertising without thinking of the goal. They see a deal (or a salesperson calls them) and they just buy whatever is on offer. A better approach would be to pull out a calendar, and look at what months (or even days) are relevant to selling to their customers. Look at Coke’s adverts. Summer time versions appear in the summer.

Map out what you think will be necessary, and then consider the approach needed. Maybe your campaign could be a funny couple of films on YouTube, and the rest of the year is flyers with QR Codes linked to those videos. Maybe, it’s just a series of letters, promoting to new customers, and Birthday/Christmas cards to existing ones.

When it comes to budgeting, I’ll stress again. Be Realistic. But I will also add. Be PROACTIVE. Decide what you intend to do (in rough terms), for a campaign effort. Maybe a once off video is all that is needed, maybe a regular advert in the local papers classifies will suffice. Heck, maybe word of mouth is all you need.

If you feel a bit lost; find a couple of people you can trust, and have a chat. Get a range of ideas down and be brutal. In this way, you can consider from the start, just what you can afford, and then use that as a guide building your advertising mix.

Budgeting is never easy. But as with anything, you need to aim for outcomes that will be achievable, serviceable, and profitable. And if you are still lost, here is a formula based on sales and turnover:

About the author

Tony Hooper’s career began in the corporate world, however that changed dramatically with a move into the Media industry. He began making short documentary pieces (on aspects of business) and in exploring his more creative side he produced a number of short films, including the series “Stock Footage Fairytales” (now being remastered). He has worked on a number of music videos and commercials, as well as writing screenplays for both short and feature film. Tony is currently exploring the intrigues of experimental film while preparing for his debut directing a feature. He is a CPA, and a member of a number of screen bodies, and has worked within the corporate sector for over a decade, including as a Senior Executive in a major media company. His plethora of experience, from negotiating contracts, reporting financial affairs, and managing film sets, and his adaptability with situations and technology, has given him a wide breadth of knowledge on all aspects of production.