Advertising Budget

The size of the advertising budget can have an impact upon the composition of the advertising mix. In general, a limited promotion budget may impel the management to use types of promotion that would not be employed otherwise, even though they are less effective than the others. Industrial firms generally invest a larger proportion of their budgets in personal selling than in advertising, while the reverse is true of most producers of consumer goods. Organizations with small budgets may be forced to use types of advertising that are less effective than others.

Some marketers find it necessary to restrict their efforts primarily to personal selling and publicity. There are organizations with small promotion budget which take the opposite course of action. They concentrate on advertising and sales promotion, and neglect other methods. Some marketers advertise in expensive ways (through classified advertisement in newspapers and magazines) and spend virtually nothing on personal selling.

There is universal difficulty of relating advertising expenditures to sales and profit results. Determining the results of advertising and consequently the amount of money to be allocated in advertising budget are complicated by several major difficulties as follows:

  • The effects of external variables such as population, or income, changes on economics conditions and competitive behavior ;
  • Variations in the quality of advertising ;
  • Uncertainly as to the time-lag effect of advertising ; and
  • The effect of the firm‟s other marketing activities, such as product improvement and stepped-up personal selling.

The above complexities make the companies resort to more than one method of determining the size of their advertising budget.

Advertising Budget involves the allocation of a portion of the total marketing resources to the advertising function in a firm. The size of the advertising budget allocation should be based on the potential contribution that advertising can make. Advertising budgeting should be based on a careful analysis of the opportunity for using advertising.

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Marginal Analysis Approach 

The marginal analysis approach to the allocation of resources provides a useful framework. How much should a firm spend on advertising? A firm may choose to spend promotion funds up to the point where marginal cost equals marginal revenue. Such analysis may be used for advertising budget decision.

The allocation procedure is to increase advertising expenditure until each rupee of advertising expense is matched by an additional dollar of profit. This marginal analysis results in the maximization of the productivity. The difficulty arises in the identification of this optimal point.

According to the Marginal analysis the management must select performance objectives for advertising expenditures. Marginal analysis relies on sales and profitability, which are important to assess the potential contribution of advertising expenditures. For advertising decisions for a new product introduction, the management may determine a minimum budget level and then asses the different levels above this.

Implementing the marginal analysis is a difficult task. Advertising is not the only factor affecting product performance. It is also difficult to predict the time pattern of the contribution, for it cannot be assumed that advertising will have an immediate impact. All these factors make it difficult for us to assess precisely the net sales marginal revenues, or other performance contribution estimates.

To cope with the realities of advertising budgeting, a variety of procedures have been adopted, which vary considerably when compared with the marginal analysis framework.

Advertising Budget Allocation by “Rule of Thumb”

Under this approach, the decisions on the amount to be spent are made by advertising managers in co-operation with advertising agency. Many companies resort to more than one method of determining the size of their advertising budgets. Some methods which are in common use are as follows:-

1. Profit Maximization: The best method for determining advertising expenditure is to identify a relationship between the amount spent on advertising and profits, and to spend that amount of money which maximizes the net profits. Since the effects of advertising may be reflected in future sales too, the advertiser maximizes the present value of all future profits at an appropriate rate. Therefore, a very few advertisers are able to implement the profit maximizing approach to determine their advertising expenditure.

2. Advertising as a Percentage of Sales: Advertising Allocation = % of Sales. A pre-determined percentage of the firm‟s past sales revenue (or projected sales revenue) is allocated to advertising. But the question is – What is the relationship between advertising expenditure and sales revenue? Though it looks simple, it is not an effective way of achieving the objectives. Arbitrary percentage allocation fails to provide for the flexibility. This method ignores the real nature of the advertising job. It is not necessarily geared to the needs of the total marketing programme. But this method is widely used. Its wide use reflects the prevailing uncertainty about the measurement of advertising effectiveness. It is an easy way of minimizing the difficulties of annual budgeting negotiations. It is also safe method as long as competitors use a similar method. The fixed sum per unit approach differs from the percentage of sales approach in only one respect that it applies a pre-determined allocation to each sales or production unit.

3. The Objective and Task Approach: The most desirable method is the objective and task approach. It is goal-oriented. The firm agrees on a set of marketing objectives after intensive market research. The costs of advertising are then calculated. When the resulting amount is within the firm‟s financial means, it is the advertising budget. It involves the following two steps: First, the organization must define the goals the promotional mix is to accomplish. For example, a 5 per cent increase in market share, or a 10 per cent rise in gross sales, or a 3 per cent addition to net profit, or more likely, a combination of several items. Second, it must determine the amount and the type of promotional activity required to accomplish the objectives set. The sum of these becomes the firm‟s promotion budget. A crucial assumption underlies the objective and task approach is that the productivity of each advertising rupee is measurable. The task approach starts by asking what the objectives of the advertising campaign are. The “advertisability” of the product is more sharply defined. This approach requires that assumptions about media, copy, and all the other parts of a campaign be co-ordinated to achieve a specific set of objectives. The task approach has special merit in the introduction of a new product. The main problem with this approach is that it is not easy to determine the cost of fulfilling an objective or to decide whether an objective is worth fulfilling. The task method forces advertising managers to engage in advance planning.

4. Competitive Parity Approach: This approach ties its budget to the rupees or percentage of sales expended by its competitions. This approach tries to match the competitor’s outlays and meet competition either on absolute or relative basis. It involves an estimate of industry advertising for the period and the allocation of an amount that equal to its market share in the industry. Meeting competition’s budget does not necessarily relate to the objective of promotion and is inappropriate for most marketing programmes. It is a defensive approach. It assumes that the promotion needs of the organization are the same as those of its rival and makes it easy for analyzing the realities of its own competitive situation and to ignore the possibility of other strategies. But the needs will never be the same. It also assumes that budgets arrived at by competitors are correct, but they may have arrived at in a haphazard manner. Besides, their marketing strategies may also be different from our organization. Therefore, this method may be recommended only as a supplement to others. However, the imitate-competitors strategy is most applicable in industries where competition is in order to prosper and even to survive. In a way, is better than the per cent of sales method as it recognizes that the competition as a key element in marketing and promotes stable relationships.

Competitive parity budgets can be determined in several ways; but all are based on spending approximately the same amount or percentage of sales as one’s competitors. Some of the ways include:

  1. Spend the same rupee amount on advertising as a major competitor does.
  2. Spend the same percentage of sales on advertising as a major competitor does.
  3. Spend the same percentage of sales on advertising as the average for the entire industry.
  4. Use one of these “rules of thumb” in a particular market.

All these have one common characteristic, that is, the actions of competitors determine the company’s advertising budget. But under this situation, a company faces several risks. Sufficient information may not be readily available to estimate the competitor’s advertising budget. Such information is derived from secondary sources for some products than others. When only partial information can be obtained, such as expenditure on media, competitive parity may be misleading. It implies that all firms in an industry have the same opportunities but not so in practice. For example, a company introduces a new product to compete with a competitor’s already established brand, the opportunity for advertising for these two brands would be entirely different.

5. All the Organization can afford approach: It involves the income statement and the balance sheet. It asks how much is available to the firm. This question is partially answered by anticipated sales and margins. The decisions based wholly on them ignore the requirements of the advertising. The basic weakness is that it does not solve the problem of “how much should we spend” by asking: “What can we profitably spend?” In some instance, companies adopt pricing policies or others strategies intended to yield more advertising rupees. Some may spend whatever rupees are available for promotion, the only limit being the firm‟s need for liquidity. This approach does ensure that advertising expenditures are assessed in the light of the profit objectives. It does put advertising in perspective with other corporate functions as contributors to the achievements of objectives.

6. By Using Judgment: This method relays upon the judgment of experienced managers. Over the years, some of these individuals develop a feel for the market that permits them to arrive at appropriate decisions, given the organization’s objectives and limitations. It is a vital input for the determination of the advertising budget. When the management uses other methods, it should temper them with the judgmental evaluations made by experienced managers. Judgment is subject to error and bias. Other methods should supplement this technique.

To conclude, promotion may be viewed as a long-run process. Joel Dean has indicate that advertising should be seen as a business investment, in the same sense as opening a new plant or spending additional funds on improved package design.

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  • Amit Ganguly

    I was wondering about different kind of measurement approaches specifically for tasks and Objective based budget approach. A balanced score card for this approach will be extremely helpful for marketer’s who want to implement this method.

    Useful article indeed and well posted.