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The endless question of cost and budget for marketing

I am often asked about marketing budgets. This makes me wonder about some approaches to that question and talk about it from where I stand.

From my experience, very few professionals who are not marketers themselves know how to budget their marketing spend. But all of them need reassurance that the money they put in will translate into a multiplier effect on their revenues. Of course, no one can promise a result for a campaign that does not exist. The role of a marketing consultant is to incentivize their clients to create a good environment. An environment inside which they can design and implement a strategy that allows achieving the expected outcomes.

For that reason, a price estimate comes only after a thorough review of their client’s needs. And the marketing consultant should join the client’s thought process. To better figure out their client’s needs and anticipate what their actual work will look like.

Any given price estimate is a recommendation based on the consultant’s knowledge of the project. As soon as the project changes, its pricing is re-discussed. In this regard, agile billing is most often the best suitable. And marketing consultants always recommend working this way if the project is quite long, with an evolving scope.

Marketing figures only mean something once put into perspective

Even when discussions begin on a healthy basis with clients, numbers can feel overwhelming if they had no idea before. An opportunity for consultants to remind their work relates to time to market. And that their clients, without their help, could spend much more by not sufficiently framing their project.

About marketing budget, to speak very practically: In all successful companies, marketing budgets take a significant share of their revenue. 11% on average, according to Gartner. Social media represented 12% of that marketing budget and will top 23% in the next 5 years, believe Deloitte. On average, businesses that outsource their social media marketing spend around $200-$350 a day. That is between $4000 and $7000 per month, $48,000-$84,000 per year. These figures are averages regardless of the industry. But according to my experience, any organization spending less than 10% of its revenue on marketing is making a mistake.

From my experience, the central aspect around my clients’ projects is never the budget. The reason is that when I understand where the project needs to go and make tangible proposals, most clients follow. The key is to take a sincere interest in their project and visualize the expected result.

Despite all this, a few clients may need more time than others to move forward. It happens to get some output from a project talk one or two years after. Others take longer to understand marketing consultants. They come back one day, sore from service providers who work more on the fly than in the long run. And you have people who simply want to study the market with no specific project in mind. Although they may not make their motivations clear from the start, it will be easy to notice them. Ultimately, it is always up to consultants to decide whether or not they are willing to help.

By Max Schleiffer

Digital entrepreneur from Europe. I have grown a marketing consultancy over the decade. Now, I explore new ways of working in the digital age.