The 7 M’s of Marketing. The Sixth “M”, Media Strategy

Sixth “M”

Money: How Much Money Should You Spend On Marketing, And Can You Track the Return On Investment?

Piggy Bank with CoinsIndustry writers suggest spending an average of 5-10% on your marketing efforts. This includes advertising—TV, radio, social media ads, etc. —but isn’t limited to that. Other types marketing include networking, customer service, publicity, market research, video for your website, etc. It comes down to the details, for example, how the phone is answered, and can be as broad as an overall campaign that covers a year or more of marketing strategy.1

Another option to calculate how much to spend on advertising (the print, online ads that you do along with commercials) is to take 10% and 12% of your annual gross sales and multiply each calculation by the markup made on your average transaction. To calculate markup, divide gross profits by hard costs. Deduct your annual rent (or mortgage) from the 10% and 12% numbers, and that will give you the range to spend on your ads.2

Here are some questions to ask yourself while making a decision about how much to spend:

  • How much do we want to make this year?
  • How much improvement does our bottom line need over last year?
  • Will we lose money, customers, clients if we don’t do anything? If so, how much will that cost us?
  • Are there areas of our marketing that are working?
  • Are there areas that need a boost?
  • What areas don’t we do at all?

John Wanamaker once said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”3 This can be disconcerting, especially when asked to spend 5-10% of revenues on marketing. However, remember:

  1. Advertising—print, social media, outdoor, commercials, etc.— is only one part of marketing. Others include:
    • NetworkingColorful financial graphs and sales charts
    • Customer service
    • Market research
    • Sales
    • Public relations
    • Pricing
    • Packaging
    • Distribution
    • Relationship building
    • … and more of course
  2. There are a variety of ways to measure the return on advertising:
    • Set up a unique phone number to call in a print ad, or create a unique URL for an online landing page. Then you’ll know which media is being seen and used to contact your company.
    • In addition, make sure that everyone who has contact with clients and customers asks them how they heard about your company. A simple form, printed or digital, can be used to track this information.

As you track the sales generated by your marketing campaign, you can use the numbers to do a revenue to cost ratio, which is incremental revenue driven by a marketing campaign divided by the cost.4 For example, if it costs $1200 to run a pay-per-click ad campaign, and the campaign reaches 45,000 people, and 5 of those people become customers, spending an average of $1500 each on what your business offers, the revenue to cost ratio is 6.25x. 5x is considered a good return, 10x is excellent.

When considering the marketing for your company, and how much to spend, it’s important to have a plan. I often hear things like: “We spent $XX on newspaper ads and didn’t get any business from it”. Remember that it takes repeated messages to see results. With a plan, you can decide which media to use and how much to spend in each area.

Writing your own plan can be an option if you’re a small business on a tight budget and have some industry know-how, or you can hire someone to write it for you and work through the details. Having someone who’s experienced and knowledgeable to guide you can make all the difference in your efforts.

Marketing SuccessOnce the plan is put together, the budget committed, and the marketing started, the fun begins. And that’s learning about what’s working, what isn’t and why. And, experiencing the rewards through what IS working. That’s exciting!





Other sources for the 7 Ms of Marketing:




The 7 M’s of Marketing. The Fourth “M”, Message Design

Fourth “M”

Message Design: What is the Creative Solution?

Creative StrategyYour creative strategy will encompass all of the ways that your message will be sent out to your audience, from print advertising, to outdoor, to television, to radio, to internet. The last, internet, encompasses social media, website, blog and online advertising. What’s important is to use a unified “voice”, with visual and audio resonating in the same tone and feel.

The tone of the creative will first depend on whether the message needs to be emotional or logical. The color palette can be chosen based on the ‘latest’ colors or on psychological cues. The copy writing can be warm and friendly or cool and factual. Photo and graphic choices also carry the feel, and standards need to be set to drive the choices of art: looking at camera, looking away from camera; close-up; clean; busy; puppies and babies; inanimate objects. Will you use an illustrative style or natural?

Color psychology is a fascinating topic by itself. Here are a few color meanings:Color Wheel-Psychological meanings of color

As you can imagine, a financial institution would use different colors than a restaurant or toy company in their visual design. What colors do you think each of these entities might use?

An example of a creative campaign that keeps the same “voice” and visual image throughout is the one that Progressive uses, with Flo as the spokesperson. Take a look at the website here:

Notice the blue that’s used in the logo, and how it’s used in other key spots in the website. As seen in the color wheel, blue denotes stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom … all positives for an insurance company’s look and feel. The website graphics are simple, colorful, clean, and keep the same friendly feel to the site that’s used in Flo’s conversational tone in the TV ads and her overall appearance.

As a secondary accent color, orange denotes enthusiasm and success, is the contrasting color to blue, and easily stands out in both the friendly “Welcome!” headline and in buttons that request the user to take action. The verbiage on the website keeps it friendly, is conversational and talks about what “you get”. It’s all about the reader’s “what’s in it for me” thought process. The tone, again, is similar to the audio tone on the television commercials and the video on the website:

The marketing creative for Progressive was built around the idea of “oh no, I don’t want to meet with an insurance agent, they just want to sell me something I don’t need.” Progressive turns that around with Flo into “my insurance agent is friendly, helps me, and cares about protecting me.”

Basic creative elements to consider:

  1. What consumer question is being answered
  2. Will the creative solution be based on:
    • Emotion
    • Logic
  3. Who is the target market?
  4. What do we want our customers to feel?
  5. What colors will work best to bring out those emotions?
  6. What type of art will work best:
    • Photos
    • Drawings
    • Combination
  7. What overall tone will the content take:
    • Serious
    • Fun
    • Caring
    • Scary
    • Personal, etc.
  8. What media will be used:
    • Social media
    • Website
    • Television
    • Radio
    • Newspaper
    • Email
    • Outdoor
    • Other

The creative encompasses everything about the company, beyond the marketing materials into the experience people have when they visit the your business, what colors, sounds, smells greet them as they walk in the door—whether yours is an office space or a retail business.

Once established, it’s important to keep the experience consistent, so that customers recognize it across experiences and over time. Yet, it must remain relevant, and the overall look, feel, voice will need to be refreshed periodically. Think of the creative strategy as living, growing, changing entity that encompasses your business and keeps your best foot moving forward.