Once an advertising objective has been selected, companies must then set an advertising budget for each product. Developing such a budget can be a difficult process because brand managers want to receive a large resource allocation to promote their products. Overall, the advertising budget should be established so as to be congruent with overall company objectives. Before establishing an advertising budget, companies must take into consideration other market factors, such as advertising frequency, competition and clutter, market share, product differentiation, and stage in the product life cycle.
Advertising frequency refers to the number of times an advertisement is repeated during a given time period to promote a product’s name, message, and other important information. A larger advertising budget is required in order to achieve a high advertising frequency: Estimates have been put forward that a consumer needs to come in contact with an advertising message nine times before it will be remembered.
Competition and Clutter
Highly competitive product markets, such as the soft-drink industry, require higher advertising budgets just to stay even with competitors. If a company wants to be a leader in an industry, then a substantial advertising budget must be earmarked every year. Examples abound of companies that spend millions of dollars on advertising in order to be key players in their respective industries (e.g., Coca Cola and General Motors).
Desired market share is also an important factor in establishing an advertising budget. Increasing market share normally requires a large advertising budget because a company’s competitors counterattack with their own advertising blitz. Successfully increasing market share depends on advertisement quality, competitor responses, and product demand and quality.
How customers perceive products is also important to the budget-setting process. Product differentiation is often necessary in competitive markets where customers have a hard time differentiating between products. For example, product differentiation might be necessary when a new laundry detergent is advertised: Since so many brands of detergent already exist, an aggressive advertising campaign would be required. Without this aggressive advertising, customers would not be aware of the product’s availability and how it differs from other products on the market. The advertising budget is higher in order to pay for the additional advertising.
Stage in the Product Life Cycle
New product offerings require considerably more advertising to make customers aware of their existence. As a product moves through the product life cycle, fewer and fewer advertising resources are needed because the product has become known and has developed an established buyer base. Advertising budgets are typically highest for a particular product during the introduction stage and gradually decline as the product matures.