Prepare for some quick and dirty, back-of-the-envelope math.

As in “some exceptions apply,” and “your mileage may vary,” but… this should get you pretty close.

Step #1: Calculate Your Total Marketing Budget

Take between 8-10% of the gross revenue you’d like to achieve by the end of next year.

Not this year’s revenue, but next year’s.


Because Excess Share of Voice (ESOV) predicts market share growth.

You have to bark like a big dog in order to grow to be a big dog.

Now, a great media buyer can make a smaller budget bark like a bigger one, as can high-impact ads, but you still need to spend according to growth goals.

Step #2: Earmark 60% or More for Branding

Yes, you read that sub-header right — you’ll want to take at least 60% of your total marketing budget and spend that on long-term branding via mass media.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to one of the world’s most recognized authorities on advertising effectiveness, Les Binet:


As Les explains so clearly in that video:

  • Long-term brand building is absolutely essential for sustained growth,
  • Most businesses should spend about 60% of their ad budget on long-term brand building
  • Most businesses should spend about 40% of their budget on short-term sales activation

And that 60/40 split is essential for anyone launching their first mass media branding campaign.


Because the 40% spent on sales activation will sustain your business for the first six to twelve months while your branding is gaining traction.

Bonus Step / Pro-Tip: Invest in High Impact Ads

Now that you’ve got a rough calculation on how much to spend on branding, do yourself a favor and spend some of that budget on:

And that’s all there is in this simplified method for calculating your mass media ad budget: just two steps and a tip.

Granted, there are plenty of variables not covered in this quick and dirty process, such as looking at your profit margins and purchase cycles, but this is enough to get some answers to questions like:

  • Am I large enough to afford mass media advertising?
  • What percentage of my overall marketing budget should be spent on branding and mass media?

Just one note of caution: there is a difference between a mass media branding campaign and branding itself.

So even if you’re not yet big enough to launch a mass media branding campaign, you should still be actively and intentionally branding your business.

Hope that helps. And feel free to reach out if you have questions or would like help improving or launching your branding.