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Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday Guest Blog: Surely all marketing spend should be measurable in some format?

By Ian Feingold, Director at Code Promotional Merchandise

Whether it’s during challenging economic times or periods of sustained economic growth, the allocation of marketing budgets should never be a simple question of ‘repeat what we did last year’ or ‘do what the competition did’! The allocation of such funds needs to be strongly linked to all elements of the business plans for your business.

I was recently presented with a cost estimate (unsolicited I might add!) by a marketing agency who promised me the transformation of the way my business is perceived in the marketplace. They were going to re-design my logo (it’s dated apparently!), provide me with “fresh, stimulating visuals” and support this by changing the font we have used to a more “modern, friendly style suitable for 2011”.

How will this support our business plan to increase sales this year? What will this radical overhaul of my visual style mean to my online customer as they search for a promotional item to use as a marketing tool at their next exhibition? How will we know if the re-design has worked? As you would suspect, there were no answers to these questions as they had no idea about me, the business or the plans we have for the business both short and long term. And most importantly, they presented no tangible evidence and how the activity would impact the bottom line of the business.

My point is if you are allocating several thousands of pounds to a design fee, personally I would question it! How have they come to this valuation? The value it can add to my business? Hourly rate possibly...but they might take 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days to come up with the idea so how do they know? And will it have a justifiable impact on your bottom line...apart from the additional cost of new signage, van livery and stationery!

Surely, any allocation of marketing budget must be linked to a tangible, measurable, increase in sales? After all, why else are we in the private sector in business. I love to see ideas, innovations and suggestions...but these must be quantifiable. For example, I know a lot of my customers now see the promotional merchandise they distribute at trade shows and exhibitions not as a free giveaway, but as an exchange for a business card to allow for an opportunity to develop a relationship with a cold prospect.

In my humble opinion, it’s not the design of a piece of marketing support you should be allocating funds’s the capability of that piece to add to the bottom line that should be the be all and end all.

About The Author
Ian Feingold is a Director at Code Promotional Merchandise, an online supplier of promotional products and corporate gifts to businesses, charities and public sector organisations with products including promotional pens, promotional mugs, promotional umbrellas, promotional desk top items and eco friendly promotional giveaways. The full range can be found at or call 0844 879 7323.

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