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  • McCord Cargile

Money: How much money will you budget for your marketing efforts?

How much money will you budget for your marketing efforts?  

It is important to include marketing in your operating budget.  Any money invested thoughtfully in a well-designed marketing program will return many times the amount invested. 


There is no magic formula for determining how much of your operating budget, or available capital, should be directed to marketing.  One concept to help to determine this amount has been stated in this way: “Don’t give ‘til it hurts. Give ‘til it helps.”  

Another approach is to determine a maximum budget amount, and then focus on crafting a marketing plan that is consistent and targeted, not necessarily expensive.  

There are many ways to make your marketing program more affordable, while still keeping it effective.  One example of this is ‘shared marketing’, in which you partner with another organization to create and present advertisements or a series of postings.   

Let’s think on that for a moment. Who can you partner with? And how? Ideally, you would start with a complementary business. A business that emphasizes the benefits and qualities of your business while simultaneously receiving that same benefit from the connection. Think Orville Redenbacher and the movies. Popcorn and movies just go together. You go to the movies you want popcorn, and doesn’t eating popcorn make you think of the movies fondly? Sharing that big tub of salty, buttery goodness with a loved one while watching the big screen? You are looking for a business that shares your target market but also expands your marketing reach. Hair salons can team up with beauty supply shops, car washes with car dealerships, jewelers with bridal boutiques. 

Once you’ve identified who you can form a mutually beneficial marketing partnership with, reach out to them. Work together to optimize your combined marketing efforts, and your budget.

If partnerships aren’t for you and money isn’t your biggest resource, look to investing time and energy into exploring free options. Social media is a great place to start your marketing efforts and you can start for free! Press releases to newspapers announcing the launch of a your new business or product line also are free. Email marketing is also a low or no-cost solution. 

Whatever you decide to do, go into it knowing your budget, and making plans with that number in mind. Whether you have a million dollar budget or a five dollar one, you have options. 

Want more detailed information on what your marketing budget should look like and how to create it? There’s no need to recreate the wheel, here are a couple of great resources we’ve found for you, chock full of stats, tips, tricks and tools.

What Percentage of Gross Revenue Should Be Used for Marketing & Advertising?

What Should My Marketing Budget Be?

5 Steps to Creating a Small Business Marketing Budget

Marketing and Sales - U.S. Small Business Administration Do you have opinions on determining, optimizing or evaluating a marketing budget? Share with us, we'd love to hear from you.

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