Marketing Budget Survey versus Houston Advertising Agencies – 11% Worse Than Your Regular Brand

I did a post several months ago on a Marketing Budget Survey from 2004 that I used for a presentation with AMA in Dallas. The 2004 marketing budget graphic is below on the left.

The marketing graphic on the right is from *this week’s* Houston Business Journal showing percentages of revenue from Houston Advertising Agencies. We have a disconnect.  First the visuals.


I’d like to highlight this part:


The big red arrow is my question. Why 6% versus 17%? Now the numbers from Houston:






















Hou AdAgencies

Now the contrast highlighted. Budgets from 2004 (2004!) show
advertising budgets at 17% of the total while a full year later Houston
Ad Agencies are managing a dismal 6%. And that is skewed by one ad
agency posting 40% as Internet. The top 3 agencies spent 2% (FKM), 1%
(Lopez Negrete) and 0% (Southern Spectrum Research a tranfer from NO with NO WEB SITE AT ALL!) on web marketing

Joe Jaffe in his book Life After the 30-Second Spot says it best:

"the problem doesn’t lie within the ranks of the more junior folks (who tend to be enthusiastic and open-minded), nor does it descend from the executive suites, which are under pressure right now to deliver value, big ideas, and proven results. Rather, the resistance begins and ends with those who have the most to lose from change – the middle-aged middle managers, who are stuck in limbo." – Joe Jaffe, Life After 30, Pg 130

Possible mitigating factors. I am comparing apples to oranges, one is a marketing budget survey and perhaps that budget does not go to advertising agencies evenly. Probably not. I wouldn’t. But it DOES indicate that 17% of the budget is available and we aren’t with it.

What is perhaps more troubling is the constant use of micro-sites and landing-domains to measure print and video. Yes, they DO measure the leads. But any buzz that is created creates links (hopefully!). Links to temporary domains. So every agency is using the clients money to divide their link love out of a selfish desire for metrics. What happened to advertising caring about the BRAND?

The net-net results of the agency aren’t great so the client doesn’t give them any more interactive work. Again, I would not. Micro-sites? Maybe for the chicken, but for a 50K print budget you should drive back to the main branded property with maybe a sub-directory.

The only good news is OiH. Perhaps there will be candor next year on the importance of interactive. I do feel better identifying middle management…

Middle management. There is the problem. Our middle tier in Houston is 11% lower performing than the rest of the country. And upper management tolerates it. What a shame.