The Right Search
My (soon-to-be-ex) boss asked me this morning to find a statistic on average advertising expenditure as a percentage of revenues. She had quoted 3% to a client, a figure she has used somewhat religiously for many years, and he asked for a bit of supporting evidence.
I toiled mightily on Google and various media Websites. I searched for _advertising expenditure services industry_ and _advertising expenditure statistics_ and all sorts of variations with quotes and synonyms. I banged away at Google for an hour, but couldn't come up with a nice concise conclusion. I dredged up statistics on revenues by industry and cross-referenced them with statistics from Ad Age on expenditure. I tried to be narrow and I tried to be broad. Everything seemed contradictory, particularly when you delve into the debate of whether you should calculate your ads as a percentage of revenue.
But Eureeka! I wasn't looking for a statistic, I was looking for a rule of thumb. And when I asked Google for an _advertising budget rule of thumb_ my boss was very happy with the answer I found on a nice, credible .gov site.