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How to Effectively Budget for Marketing

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Navigating the seas of marketing requires more than just creativity and innovation — it demands a well-thought-out marketing budget that aligns with your business goals. As a small business owner, the challenge lies not only in reaching your target audience but also in allocating resources wisely to ensure a strong return on investment (ROI).

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established small business owner looking to enhance your marketing endeavors, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to set and stick to a marketing budget and why this strategy could be the key to helping your business thrive.

Marketing budget vs. marketing strategy

Marketing budget and marketing strategy are distinct but interconnected aspects of a comprehensive approach to promoting a business. Let’s break down the differences:

Marketing Strategy:

  • Definition: Marketing strategy is the overarching plan that outlines your business’s approach to promoting its products or services. It involves defining your target audience, positioning, and unique selling proposition.
  • Components: A marketing strategy includes various elements such as market research, competitive analysis, target audience identification, positioning, and differentiation. It outlines the overall direction and goals for your marketing efforts.
  • Focus: Marketing strategy focuses on the long-term vision and the big picture. It sets the stage for all marketing activities and provides a roadmap for achieving business objectives.
  • Examples: Developing a content marketing strategy, creating a social media strategy, or outlining a product launch plan are examples of marketing strategy.

Marketing Budget:

  • Definition: A marketing budget is a detailed financial plan that allocates funds to specific marketing activities outlined in the marketing strategy. It quantifies how much money is available for various marketing initiatives. Generally, marketing budgets cover a specific amount of time and will be reevaluated once that set period has elapsed.
  • Components: A marketing budget breaks down expenses for advertising, promotions, events, content creation, and other specific activities. It considers the costs associated with implementing the marketing strategy.
  • Focus: Marketing budgets are more short-term and tactical. They address the immediate financial needs to execute the marketing strategy effectively.
  • Examples: Allocating funds for a Facebook ad campaign, setting aside a budget for a trade show booth, or determining the resources for creating promotional materials are examples of decisions made within a marketing budget.

In summary, the marketing strategy is the comprehensive plan that guides your marketing efforts, while the marketing budget is the financial plan that allocates resources to execute the strategy. Both are crucial for a well-rounded and successful marketing approach.

Challenges to investing in marketing

Investing in marketing seems like a no-brainer. After all, you have to spend money to make money, right? While this is certainly the case, small businesses often face challenges when it comes to setting aside money for marketing amid their other expenses. 

Many small businesses operate on a tight budget. With costs like rent, salaries, and supplies taking up a big chunk, finding extra money for marketing can be tough. The problem is balancing short-term needs, like paying bills right now, with the long-term benefits of investing in marketing for future success. 

The best way to overcome these challenges and ensure that you can get the word out about your business is to create a robust, detailed marketing budget that aligns with your goals and finances.

Why you need a marketing budget

Your marketing budget is like a financial compass guiding your small business, ensuring every dollar spent contributes to its growth and success. It’s a crucial tool that helps in making smart financial decisions, especially when resources are limited. Without a marketing budget and a clear plan, you are blindly spending, not knowing if you’re investing in something that will help grow your business. 

Instead of randomly dumping money into marketing, a budget helps businesses allocate their funds wisely. It ensures that money goes to the right places — whether it’s online ads, social media campaigns, or other marketing activities. 

By planning ahead, small businesses can set achievable goals and understand what results to expect. Plus, a budget allows you to track your spending to ensure you are getting a good return on your investment. 

What is the average cost of marketing for small businesses?

The average cost of marketing for small businesses can vary widely depending on factors such as the industry, location, and specific marketing strategies employed. The average marketing budget in 2022 was 9.5% of a company’s overall revenue, but this number varies widely depending on the size of your company and how long you’ve been in business. A newer company will need to spend a higher percentage of its revenue on marketing than one that is well-established.

A common rule of thumb is to spend around 5-10% of gross revenue on marketing. However, this percentage can be higher or lower based on various considerations. For instance, you could spend as much as 20% of your revenue on marketing initiatives if your goal is rapid growth.

Digital marketing channels, such as social media advertising, email marketing, and content creation, often provide cost-effective options for small businesses compared to traditional advertising methods. Additionally, the size of the business, its target audience, and the competitiveness of the industry can influence marketing costs.

Ultimately, the key is to align the marketing budget with the business goals, target audience, and chosen marketing channels. Regularly reviewing and adjusting the budget based on performance metrics and ROI is crucial for optimizing marketing spend.

How to Create a Marketing Budget: Before You Begin

To craft an effective marketing budget for your small business, you must first audit your current budget and any initiatives you’ve already tried. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What are your current marketing efforts? 
  • What is your current return on investment (ROI) with marketing?
  • How much can we realistically spend on marketing?

Once you’ve established where you stand with your marketing budget, you must gain a thorough understanding of your industry. Begin this journey by diving into the specifics of your sector, and exploring the average marketing costs of small businesses within it. Researching and gathering insights into these costs provide a foundational understanding, allowing you to grasp the financial landscape you’re entering.

Consider industry benchmarks as guiding stars illuminating your course. These benchmarks offer a reference point by showcasing what is considered standard or ambitious within your industry. To set goals for your marketing budget, analyze the strategies of comparable businesses. It’s akin to consulting a map that reveals the routes successfully taken by others — you can learn what course to take and common pitfalls to avoid.

The Nuts and Bolts of Marketing Budgeting: How to Budget Effectively

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with industry specifics and benchmarked against your peers, it’s time to tackle the practical steps of creating your marketing budget. 

  1. Begin by establishing clear and achievable marketing goals. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or expanding your customer base, having well-defined objectives will serve as the foundation for your budget.
  1. Consider your revenue. Understanding your revenue is a crucial factor in effective marketing budgeting. Take a close look at your finances to determine how much income your business generates. This analysis provides a realistic perspective on the funds available for marketing.
  1. With your goals in mind, allocate funds to various marketing channels. Remember, your marketing budget and your marketing strategy must be developed together. This is crucial for a comprehensive, effective marketing campaign. Consider the channels that align with your target audience and industry trends. Whether it’s investing in online ads, social media campaigns, or traditional marketing methods, distribute your budget strategically to maximize impact. Often, the numbers you establish in this step will change once you talk to your strategic marketing advisor, so avoid getting too specific here if you plan on hiring a marketing agency. 
  1. Take into account the timing of your marketing initiatives. Understand the seasonality of your business and industry trends. Allocate your budget accordingly, ensuring you invest more during peak demand or capitalize on seasonal trends. 
  1. Incorporate a buffer in your budget for adjustments based on performance. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and be ready to reallocate resources to initiatives that yield better results.
  1. Meticulously track your spending and analyze the results of each marketing channel. Leverage tools and analytics to measure performance and calculate the return on investment for every dollar spent. This data-driven approach allows you to refine your budget and optimize future marketing efforts. A good marketing agency will regularly provide this information to you, making it easy to see where your money is going.

Marketing Budget Planning: What to Remember

When planning a marketing budget, there are several important factors to consider. Here are key aspects to remember:

Set Clear Goals:

  • Define specific, measurable, and achievable marketing goals.
  • Align your budget with these goals to ensure effective allocation.

Know Your Audience:

  • Understand your target audience to tailor your marketing efforts.
  • Allocate budget to channels that reach and resonate with your audience.

Prioritize Digital Presence:

  • Allocate a significant portion of the budget to digital marketing.
  • Consider social media, SEO, and online advertising for a broader reach.

Test and Analyze:

  • Allocate funds for testing different marketing strategies.
  • Regularly analyze performance metrics and adjust budgets based on results.

Invest in Content Marketing:

  • Allocate resources for creating valuable and engaging content.
  • Content marketing can build brand authority and attract organic traffic.

Explore Cost-Effective Channels:

  • Consider cost-effective channels like email marketing.
  • Leverage low-cost yet impactful strategies to maximize ROI.

Utilize Social Media Wisely:

  • Allocate budget to social media advertising selectively.
  • Focus on platforms most relevant to your audience and industry.

Build Relationships:

  • Invest in relationship-building activities such as influencer partnerships.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing can be powerful and cost-effective.

Monitor Competitor Activities:

  • Allocate budget for competitive analysis.
  • Stay informed about industry trends and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Plan for Seasonal Campaigns:

  • Account for seasonal variations in demand.
  • Adjust marketing budgets to capitalize on peak seasons.

Don’t Neglect Customer Retention:

  • Allocate resources for customer retention strategies.
  • It’s often more cost-effective to retain existing customers than acquire new ones.

Consider Outsourcing:

  • Evaluate the possibility of outsourcing certain marketing tasks to a trusted marketing agency like Kraken.
  • It can be cost-effective and allows you to focus on core business activities. Remember, just because you can do the work doesn’t mean you should. Check out this article for more information.

Track and Measure ROI:

  • Implement tools to track the return on investment (ROI) of marketing efforts.
  • Use data to refine future budgets and strategies.

Stay Flexible:

  • Be prepared to adjust your budget based on changing market conditions.
  • Flexibility ensures you can adapt to unforeseen challenges and opportunities.
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Kraken is here to help

Marketing budgeting and strategy planning can be overwhelming for small businesses, but with Kraken Sales Funnels, your marketing needs are in expert hands. Our comprehensive approach is designed to alleviate the stress associated with budget planning and strategic decision-making. 

Whether you’re launching a new business or product, reworking an existing marketing budget, or creating a marketing budget for the first time, our team at Kraken Sales Funnels can help. Our experts are here to guide you through the process, offering personalized assistance to ensure that your marketing budget aligns seamlessly with your business objectives. 
No matter the size of your business, we work with you to create a tailored and effective marketing strategy that suits your unique needs. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about where to start or how to budget for marketing, we’d love to chat and discuss your options. Click here to schedule a free consultation!

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