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Marketing Budgets and Why You Need Them

For many of us, there is nothing more uninspiring than creating a budget. Personally, it’s very difficult for me to find anything remotely creative to do with an Excel spreadsheet. But in working with clients, I am learning that marketing budgets, when handled effectively, can be useful tools for enhancing business development cultures.

An unfortunately typical method in many firms is what I refer to as the “go to Dad” approach: partners simply request funds from the management committee for whatever advertisement, mailing, or social gathering strikes their fancy, and they hope the committee approves. Such a system leads to shotgun marketing, which is seldom effective.

Having partners participate in creating a marketing budget discourages shotgun marketing by requiring proactivity rather than knee-jerk reactions to specific situations.

The key is to get partners involved. Don’t pawn the task off on your marketing directors or firm administrators; enlist their expertise, but give the primary responsibility for creating the business development budget to department heads or practice group leaders. Those individuals then seek input from department members as to what their individual business development plans are for the coming year, along with an appropriate cost estimate. Creating a marketing budget requires partners to think carefully about their future marketing activities by attaching dollar amounts to those activities. It is more constructive, thoughtful, cost-effective and practical than going to Dad every time marketing dollars are needed.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009