Bonitamedia’s Weblog

Creating a lasting impression for small business

Advertising and Allocation… Learning from Wall Street

I have to admit, the world of branding, marketing, advertising and so on is fascinating (makes sense to be involved I guess 🙂 ). I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how advertising/marketing budgets- and how they’re spent – relate to my prior life as a financial planner for a large Wall Street firm. The parallels are striking.

There are some simple rules of thumb when it comes to investing, but the most basic is diversify. Sounds simple enough, right? well – not really. Models are developed for each client based on goals and risk-tolerance. A portfolio needs to account for both the long-term needs of the client (how much growth/safety-of-principle/etc…) and the short-term needs (from buying a home, to college funding, to being able to sleep at night). To accomplish this, the investor needs to buy different asset classes, multiple companies in each class, fixed income (bonds, preferred stock, etc…) of differing credit ratings, etc… One of the biggest challenges is convincing a client not to put too much into one sector (automotive) or one company (Enron). The days of investing in what you know are going away because, as we have all seen, no company, no industry is immune to financial problems. What’s worse is when an investor with little money wants to gamble on one or two companies, when buying mutual funds (albeit expensive) really give better diversification.

It is amazing how I find the same challenges when working with clients. First issue – the “My competitors do this, so I have to!” It’s like the golf buddy who speaks of the fortune he made on one stock, but leaves out the much greater losses on the others. Your advertising campaign needs to be designed based on your goals and risk levels – not on what your competition is doing. Second – Budget constraints. How many times have you seen this… “I have $5k to spend. I want to run a full page ad in the newspaper, or send out a mailer to 5000 homes from this list I bought.” Gambling with your businesses lifeline if you ask me. If you budget is low, you need to investigate mutual-fund-like marketing plans. Sure – you won’t get your full-page ad, but you will get what you really need – frequency and reach, which will invariably create a longer stream of new business. (Exception – if you are going out of business, tell everyone right away and short-term). Third – True diversification involves risky investments, so a truly diverse marketing plan will involve new media, different ideas, things that are out of your comfort zone. Anything from blogging, social media, mobile billboards, to digital sign networks are new to many marketplaces (especially mine) and are great ways to accomplish great things without spending a fortune.

I could go on and on about this, but I what I really want is your feedback in Assett Allocation for Marketing Plans.

Remember, a business with no sign is a sign of no business!



January 8, 2009 - Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yes! This brings up a fundamental point I always think about; especially in a down economy such as we have these days.

    There’s an overall perception that Marketing budgets should be the first to get cut when revenues fall, but I personally believe that they should be raised. From a marketing and branding stand point, times like these are an Opportunity!!, where media costs can REALLY be negotiated down (this is the case all the time, BUT especially in times like these) We all know this as fact. If so, companies and brands can really experiment with different and emerging medias (“diversification” as you stated) for far less then in the good times. I don’t know why most go the other way on this thinking still. I think decision-makers at time get TOO fixated on the “Hot / flavor of the Month” medias, and forget that a solid marketing / branding plan should ALWAYS consist of a diverse set of medias, NOT just the few hot ones. Companies should stop Overpaying for unproductive employees / execs, raise the marketing budgets, and take advantage of the unique opportunities to raise their brand value. Too much “old school” mentality still exists today.

    GREAT point Jon! Blog looks great as well!

    Comment by justoutofhome | February 3, 2009

  2. Great timing commenting on this today! I had the opportunity to have coffee with a sales rep from a publicly-traded media company. This company cut from their budget all outside marketing, including chamber dues and so on… I find it ironic that media company would fall in to the “Do as I say, not as I do” trap…

    History SHOULD be our greatest teacher, but many times it is forgotten. 80+/- years ago there were 5 conglomerates – only one survived the Great Depression – Proctor and Gamble. P+G increased their marketing budget approximately 200%…

    Comment by bonitamedia | February 3, 2009

  3. My point exactly, and I also find that very ironic as well. Obviously that Media company is telling clients that “it’s a great time to buy our media,” but they themselves are cutting their budgets… No vision.. Thank you!; the P+G case states my case perfectly!

    Comment by justoutofhome | February 3, 2009

  4. My point exactly, and I also find that very ironic as well. Obviously that Media company is telling clients that “it’s a great time to buy our media,” but they themselves are cutting their budgets… No vision.. Thank you!; the P+G case states my case perfectly! You should do a case study on this; would be great content here.

    Comment by justoutofhome | February 3, 2009

  5. […] marketing /  advertising budgets tend to be the first to get cut. I discussed this issue with Jon at Bonita Media, and let me state another belief of mine, which is “A bad economy is the Perfect time to […]

    Pingback by The Current Reality of Advertising in Out of home & Digital Signage « Just Out-Of-Home | February 7, 2009

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    Comment by Alexwebmaster | March 3, 2009

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