Tips for Creating A Marketing Budget

Get A Solid Plan

The economy has improved and now your company is ready to embark on a growth strategy. Or maybe you have one of the best ideas of the year but no clue how you’re going to get it in front of an audience. That’s where marketing comes in.

There are many things involved in marketing, but what it really comes down to is developing a real strategy and a realistic budget. Assuming you have prepared a strategy, this article will offer you some ideas on creating a marketing budget and show you what you can actually expect for your dollar.

Marketing Math

As a business owner, do you know what your budget is? If you have no idea, marketing math can help you define exactly what you should be spending on marketing:

Start-Ups: For companies in business for one to five years, 10 to 20% of revenue or projected revenue is a good benchmark. For companies less than a year old, the percentage can be even higher due to initial ramp-up cost.

Five+: For companies in business more than five years, a budget of between 6 and 12 % should be sufficient. At this stage, your business has some market share or brand equity, which helps with attracting customers.

Initially the budget may seem like a big expense, but remember a new and emerging brand needs to capture market share and develop brand recognition with an audience that has no knowledge of the company. Getting your company from zero to 60 takes some resources. And don’t count on Facebook alone getting it done.

Reverse Marketing

You know you need to grow your brand to turn that idea or hobby into a real business, but you believe you don’t have money to execute on a plan. Sound familiar? This is reverse marketing, where you say once I get enough revenue coming in I will start marketing. That is usually not a good idea. It’s all backwards, in reverse! That’s why it’s so critical that start-ups and established brands alike are well-funded. It’s not uncommon for businesses that are ready to launch to have never thought about a budget. They may be focused on one aspect, like awareness surrounding a grand opening, versus an overall strategy, and convince themselves that they will do a real marketing plan once the business makes money. It’s like building a house– It’s almost always going to take more time and way more money than expected. If your business isn’t well-funded, make sure your dollars are spent wisely and tied tightly to specific deliverables.

Marketing Must Haves

Marketing “must haves” are those elements that are required to get the word out about your business. The mix and dollar spent on each of these is unique to each business. Fees will vary widely for each channel depending on the age and size of the company, and whether the customer base is local, national, or global.


Basic: 99designs $600 for logo and brand identity pack. It does not include business cards, letterhead, email templates, etc.
Good: A small agency may charge between $5,000 to $7,000 and should include most creative assets.
Great:More than $15,000-$30,000 if you are going to a large agency. Expect them to create your entire brand book, story and collateral, and other assets.


Basic: Wix or WordPress both offer DIY options, with lots of free options.
Good: For a WordPress site designed to look like your brand, it will usually cost you around $2,500; add an additional $1,000 or more if you need a plugin shopping cart.

Great: At least $12,000. The price will depend on functionality, automation and design, among other components.

Social media

Basic: Do it yourself – if you have the time, or hire an intern or a college student.
Good: Between $1,200 and $2,500 for a small agency.
Great: If you have to include several platforms, listening and reputation software, alone with a good fit of real-time interaction, expect a budget closer to $3,500.


Basic: Tell your friends and word of mouth.
Good: General social media marketing will cost between $300 and $500 a month. Include targeted ads on relevant websites and it’s around $500 a month.

Great: Full social, outdoor, print, digital, pay-per-click will cost at least $6,000.


Basic: Hire an intern.
Good: A freelancer platform, like, allows to you set the price you are willing to pay.
Great: Having an agency generate content will run $300 to $1,200 per piece depending on word count and graphics.


Basic: Chambers of commerce allow you to show up and network at member events.
Good: Find a business with the same target audience and cross-market your business.
Great: Hiring a production team for even a small event can run $5,000 with the sky as the limit.
Remember, there’s no magic bullet. It’s part art. Take the steps necessary to create and build a brand that reaches for the highest return on investment.

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