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Why I Need to Know your Marketing Budget

My good friend Ann Hawkins shared a blog post recently titled ‘Why I need to Know Your Marketing Budget.’

It’s a good read from the man behind creative agency Mule Design and the well known talk from the Creative Mornings event series: ‘F*ck you. Pay Me.’

I want to build on Mike’s post from a marketing services agency perspective. Primarily to help our prospective clients understand why I always ask about their budgets.

It’s a fundamental part of the early engagement I have with every prospective client. I will always ask ‘what’s your marketing budget?’ This often get’s a negative reaction, but it really shouldn’t.

Here are the three main reasons why I ask this question – and no, it’s not because we want to get as much money out of you as possible:

1. It will help both of us to understand if you have a viable project or campaign.

If you only have £1,500 to spend on an e-commerce site, you don’t have enough money to have a custom site designed and built.

Same principle for event marketing; £50k will not buy you a good launch event in London for 300 people.

If I can establish this at the outset, it can save an awful lot of time.

2. If I know how much you want to spend, I can define the most appropriate set of tactics, or help you to decide if your strategy is even viable in the first place.

This builds on the first point. If you share your budget, it’s a lot easier for us to start giving you some consultancy.

If you have a £5k budget but want to build brand awareness (as was a recent brief that came our way) then think again. You will never be able to build brand awareness for £5k, no matter how clever your creative and smooth the execution.

Maybe you can spend your budget more effectively in other directions that will add value to your business.

3. It will help both of us to understand if we should or could work together.

Early discussions with a prospective client are as much about finding out if we can deliver what you need and want to work with you, as it is for you to assess if we are the right agency for you.

We are unlikely to have the right skills for every client, or every project that comes our way. Just like our approach and agency model is unlikely to suit every marketer and their needs and wants.

If you don’t know your budget it means you have not sufficiently planned out your campaign, or you do not have the authority to spend. In both cases you are not ready to appoint an agency.

Not only that, but if you don’t trust me with your budget, how will this relationship play out when we are working together? The success of any client agency relationship relies on exactly that, a relationship. Treat with appropriate care and you will have a long lasting and valuable relationship with us, or any agency.

I could go on, but these the top three that occur to me as I type this up on my morning commute. Of course there will always be situations when you don’t know the budget. It’s sometimes unavoidable and we are happy to help you work this out.

But this will not be in the form of a fully costed proposal, unless you want to pay for this consultancy.

I do hope you understand.