How Much Marketing Budget for AV Firms

How much budget should AV industry companies allocate towards marketing to the house of worship vertical? The answer is likely a surprise for any company that’s not spending on this >$1B annual spend segment of the overall AV industry.

In 2018, the American Marketing Association, in partnership with Deloitte and Duke University, published the bi-annual Highlights and Insights Report of the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Survey. Now in its 10th year, the CMO Survey provides critical data and insights into the trends and analysis of the shifts and changes in marketing as a whole. Some of the most interesting stats provide a helpful framework for any industry to benchmark their current marketing practices.

How Much to Spend on Marketing

The CMO Survey highlights that in 2018 the annual average percentage spent on marketing was at 10.8 percent. Even more eye-opening was the shift away from traditional marketing spend to digital marketing expenditures, with a 12.3 percent growth overall in digital spend compared to a -1.2  percent decrease for traditional advertising.

As the chart below from the CMO Survey highlights, the biggest spend is on B2B products and B2B services, which are a key part of the overall AV industry’s business.

CMO Survey from August 2018 highlighting the growth in digital vs. traditional advertising

CMO Survey from August 2018 highlighting the growth in digital vs. traditional advertising

In the house of worship market, we have previously reported that the multi-site church model of using AV to broadcast or stream from one church location to many smaller campuses has seen over half a billion dollars ($580MM to be exact) spent on audiovisual technology alone since 2014. The graphic below is from 2014, but the stats are extremely helpful for AV industry companies which have not paid attention to this underserved market segment.

Multisite Churches Spend $580MM - Infographic

Multi-site churches spend 580MM in one year.

What Marketing Needs to Understand About Church Buyers

With so little understood about church buyers and church technology needs by the AV industry at large, it is helpful to understand that there are different marketing personas (segments of potential buyers) that can more easily be understood along a continuum. The graphic below visually represents the continuum of the potential church buyers with the left side representing the typical church AV technologist and the far right representing the senior pastor who is often the ultimate decision-making authority for large church expenditures.

Church AV Decision Insights

Church AV Decision Insights

As the image above illustrates, the church tech has a high interest in AV technology, has the ability to analyze their technical issues and can articulate the key pain points. Conversely, the senior pastor has a distinct lack of interest in the actual AV technology but has the ability to set or adjust a budget and often has the final purchase authority. As such, the marketing strategy should take into account targeting content and advertising to each of the personas on the continuum so that the chances of reaching the right person with the right message is dramatically increased.

What the C-Suite Needs from Marketing

From the AV manufacturing and systems integration standpoint, the C-suite will have a similar continuum from the rank-and-file digital marketer. Providing key insights and recommended actions to the C-suite give marketers the greatest chance of getting approval for marketing budgets to reach each vertical market.

The sample dashboard concept below provides a simplistic visualization to represent Key Performance Indicators (top half), important trends (bottom half) and, most importantly, the key insights and recommended actions for decision-making and quick approvals.

HoW Marketing Dashboard rAVe

HoW Marketing Dashboard rAVe

Just as the senior pastor doesn’t need to understand or even be bothered with an itemized equipment list of recommended AV technology, the C-suite executives of an AV company do not need to understand or even be bothered with email open rates or other vanity metrics. The key is to visually represent what is important, recommended and needed from them to make an informed decision for marketing.

With a marketing ratio of 10 percent of the overall annual budget, the percentage applied to each vertical market is easier to calculate based on historical averages, market size and market opportunity. The question is not if there should be more spent on marketing, but how much more?

Visualize the market opportunity. Visualize actionable dashboards for quick decision-making. Visualize the ROI of the increased spend and reap the benefits of understanding how to represent the value of Marketing to the organization.

What do you think? Do you think Anthony Coppedge’s view represents what you’re seeing in the audiovisual industry?