“I need you to look into promotional products for our next campaign. Please bring a budget over by EOD.”

Oof. If you’re feeling the pain, we’ve been there too. When it comes time to get the paper and pen to start budgeting for promotional marketing, skilled individuals from marketing to HR often need help knowing where to start.

In this guide we’ll will discuss four simple and actionable promotional budget methods that help with the anxiety of number crunching. Next, we’ll talk about how working with a one-stop-shop vendor like Imprint Engine can not only save you cash, but also time and headaches.

Need to Skim? Key Takeaways:

  • Effective promotional budgets cover everything from branded merchandise to design, production, and distribution. These investments boost employee and client engagement, while building solid brand equity.
  • There are four main ways to structure your promotional budget: Objective & Task, Percentage of Sales, Competitive Parity, and Affordable. Each method offers unique strategies to smartly allocate your promotional expenses.
  • Partnering with a one-stop-shop like Imprint Engine saves you time, cuts costs, and guarantees top-tier promotional items. Our comprehensive design, fulfillment, and global account management services ensure a seamless and effective brand experience.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Promotional Budget?
  2. Types of Promotional Budget Methods
  3. How to Get the Most Out of Your Budget
  4. Build a Brand Experience While Staying in Budget With Imprint Engine

What is a Promotional Budget?

Think of your promotional budget as the money you set aside specifically to promote your business. I.e. It’s your dedicated fund for spreading the word.

What Does It Cover?

  1. Branded Goodies: Think of the pens, water bottles, and t-shirts with your company logo. They’re essential to your promotional strategy. These items help you reach more people and offer excellent value for your investment. For instance, a single t-shirt can get thousands of eyeballs on your brand over 14 months.
  2. Design, Production, and Distribution: Creating and getting those branded goodies out there involves several steps, each with its own cost. It all adds up from designing the items to ensuring they arrive on time and end up in the right hands.
  3. Employee and Client Engagement: Once your branded items are ready, share the love! Give them to your employees, clients, and potential customers. After all, walking billboards serve as low-cost advertising.

A well-managed promotional budget helps strategically invest in your brand and build brand equity, while keeping costs down. That is what is considered smart marketing.

Types of Promotional Budget Methods

The word “method” might not set your heart racing, but hold on tight – when you choose the correct one for your business, the payoff in brand exposure is oh-so-sweet. There are four types of promotional budget methods; let’s find the right one for you:

Objective & Task Method

Total Budget= (Cost per Item×Number of Items)+Other Expenses

You’ve got a goal. Perhaps you want to create buzz around the business or gift employees for hard-earned work. Whatever the occasion, you want your brand name written all over it.

Here is how you budget using O & T:

  1. First, figure out what you want to accomplish.
  2. Then, pick out the promotional items to help you hit that target.

Once you’ve got your plan, add up the cost of those items and any other little expenses, like shipping or handling. Voila, that’s your budget.

Percentage of Sales Method

Your budget—whether for marketing, HR, event planning, or beyond—can be determined using a simple trick: the percentage of sales method. Discover how it works to achieve both lofty and smaller goals:

Step 1

Base your budget on either:

  • Current Sales: The actual sales you’ve made so far.
  • Sales Forecasts: Predictions of future sales.

Step 2

Calculate the Magic Percentage: Determine a portion of your sales.

The average marketing budget is about 13.2%** of total sales. Therefore, to calculate your promotional budget, use this formula:

Promotional Budget = 0.132 × Total Sales

Step 3

Customize It

Everyone’s goals differ—some are more ambitious than others. Consider other places where you need to set aside money for marketing, such as online ads. The pennies add up, and you might only have 10% or less to spend on your sales promotions.

Competitive Parity Method

Your Promotional Budget = Competitors Spending Level

The competitive parity method encourages you to examine your business rivals and their investment in promotional items within the industry. While the exact numbers may not be precise, you can make an educated guess based on the branded merch they offer and the times they offer it (seasonal sales, anyone?).

If you want to discover how much your competitors are spending, visit their trade show booths secret shopper style to see how you can match their spending.

Affordable Method

Your Promotional Budget = How Much Can You Afford?

A straightforward promotional budget method, the AM style keeps it simple. While we all wish we could have unlimited spending, the amount you comfortably invest in promotional expenses is what matters.

Affordability is often determined by considering how the rest of your marketing and advertising budget is distributed. The only drawback to this method is the need to revisit your promotional budget frequently to ensure adequate allocation to your in-real-life (IRL) branding efforts.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Budget

Regardless of the promotional budget method, you can maximize your budget’s potential in several ways. Stretching those promotional dollars will help you reach your business’s sky-high goals, speed past competitors, and increase the branded merch you can give.

Take Account of Your Current Vendors

Choosing the right vendor is crucial – the difference between putting you behind in business or forward. So, ask yourself, is this a cold business transaction or a partnership? Here are points to consider when you feel that a vendor may just be “going through the motions“:

  • A genuine partner prioritizes your interests.
  • Consider the ROI—are you getting real value for your investment?
  • Additionally, think about the lifespan of the promotional items they provide. Will they be used over time, or just forgotten in a drawer?

Certain partnerships withstand the test of time. The discovery process is our favorite aspect. It guides us in achieving goals, sticking to budgets, and delivering top-quality products.

Choose a “One Stop Shop” Partner

A lot goes into offering promotional items, from design to fulfillment to distribution. Choose a one-stop-shop partner who listens closely and is ready to deliver (on time), promising to make the most of your promotional budget.

Imprint Engine has built partnerships worldwide. That means access to high-quality materials and products with leading brands. It is all about the brand experience, right? We want you to have a great one.

Set Up Effective Global Account Management

How does your brand look worldwide? And how many people know about your products or services? With Imprint Engine, we help you tell a clear story for your brand everywhere by always giving you great promotional products. Our innovative global account management makes it easy for you to share branded stuff worldwide. Yes, for once in your life, everything is cared for.

Build a Brand Experience While Staying in Budget With Imprint Engine

Regardless of your chosen promotional budget method, Imprint Engine helps you craft a standout brand experience within your budget. Tailored services ensure you meet the challenge of driving brand equity and achieving your goals—whether with clients, employees, or bidding on new business. High-quality promotional items are available in a convenient one-stop shop for design, fulfillment, and distribution.

It’s reassuring to have everything taken care of for you, isn’t it? If that sounds good, let’s chat. We’d love to hear from you.