How Much Should I Budget for Marketing?


August 29, 2017 By

Dave Larson

That is always a tough question to answer. It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish and by when. Setting a firm objective really helps you focus in on the budget you need. Example: “I need 500 leads per quarter. “

We’ve all heard the old adage, “It takes money to make money.” In the land of digital marketing, it certainly rings true. In order to get the word out about your business you must make an investment in marketing.

However, rather than taking a haphazard approach to creating your marketing budget, like picking a number out of the air, throwing darts, or worse - doing a percentage of what’s leftover - let’s talk about some of the real line items that realistically need to be in your marketing budget.

The Components of a Marketing Budget

In order to get the best results from your marketing budget, try to keep only marketing expenses included. For example, if you provide expense accounts to salespeople, try to include those in your sales budget.

Here are some of the things that you should include in your marketing budget:

Marketing collateral – This would include brochures, flyers, catalogs, promotional items such as shirts or pens, as well as any other items designed to promote your business and your offerings. Most small businesses start out in sales mode. Make sure your sales team is equipped to sell with quality support materials.

Production costs – This category includes any art, design, copywriting, photography, images, graphic design, creative, printing, list rentals, video production, script writing, voice-overs, editing etc. necessary to create your advertising or promotional materials.

Technology costs – This includes the cost of building your website, hosting, email and maintenance. You may need landing page software and a CRM system (like Infusionsoft) to capture your sales prospects and send your email. If you are doing sales online you will need to accept credit card payments, so you will need a merchant account and payment gateway. If you are doing your own graphic work in-house there are tools like Adobe Creative Suite that you’ll need. There is also a host of specialized marketing tools for managing everything from SEO ranking to social media conversations. If you are doing video in-house, you’ll need things like cameras, lighting, backgrounds, sound boards and microphones and subscriptions to services like Vimeo. Ask your team what tools they need. Good news is that if you are outsourcing, most of these tools will be provided as part of the service.

Online Marketing/Paid Advertising – Any ads you run in newspapers, magazines, direct mail campaigns, TV, and radio would be included in this. You would also include any online advertising such as videos, banner ads, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media advertising, content marketing and blog maintenance. Make sure you add some extra budget to run some marketing tests. Smart marketers test before they roll out. If you don’t want to make a huge marketing mistake, you test things first.

Marketing and Brand Strategy – If you need help to mapping out your marketing or brand strategy, be sure to include some money for those services. Done right, your strategy can help you develop a contagious brand. It is money well spent.

Memberships, Conferences and Training – If you are planning to do marketing in-house, don’t forget a healthy budget amount for memberships, conferences and training. We live in an information economy. That information doubles every 6 months and you have to stay on top of all the changes. You can’t do that if you are not continuously learning and growing.

Conferences & Tradeshow Sponsorships – Yes, conferences is listed twice. The one before is your people attending to learn. In this one, you are a sponsor at a conference to generate leads and sales. Don’t forget displays, airfare and hotels in this budget.

Marketing Staff (Internal or External) – Last, but not least are the folks that run the marketing show for your company. They can be employees, contractors, or a company you hire to run your marketing.

Need advice on your marketing budget? Call us at 407-682-2222 or contact us online to schedule your free marketing strategy session!

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