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Developing a Marketing Plan for Your Business
Every business needs a business plan that maps out the process of identifying the target market, attracting interest, gaining customers and retaining them for future sales. A solid marketing plan is an integral part of the overall business plan, as it maps out objectives and the plan for achieving them.
What Does a Marketing Plan Contain?
An effective marketing plan is detailed with concise steps that will accomplish a defined goal. The plan should identify and discuss the target market with information about direct competition in the industry. It should include information about marketing activity used in the past with the effectiveness of these activities. Then, the marketing plan consists of a set of realistic goals with defined objectives along with deadlines for meeting these objectives. The plan must also include budgetary guidelines for the marketing activities as well as a plan for measuring the effectiveness of the activities. It’s important to make the marketing plan easy to maintain and update as a company evolves, too.
Marketing Planning Process
The process of making a marketing plan involves market research to assess trends, profile target customers, identify potential competition, outline products or services, find vendors, calculate costs and brainstorm all positive and negative impacts that could affect the business. The business should create a mission statement that defines the company, its vision and its priorities. Next, the plan needs to focus on specific strategies and methods that will generate sales, including product descriptions, calls to action, promotion and advertising methods and budget, product or service pricing, and a plan to monitor how effective the marketing strategies are performing for the company.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To succeed in any industry, a business needs to set itself apart to attract customers and compete successfully with similar businesses. Questions to ponder include:
- Is this business model unique, and how is it unique? What need does the business meet?
- Who makes up the target market that will buy the service or product?
- What other companies currently exist that will compete for the target market? How can you prevail over this competition?
- What message will you communicate to potential buyers? How will potential buyers find out about your service or product?
- How will you deliver your service or product to your buyers?
Using a Marketing Plan Template
Some small business owners prefer to use a marketing plan template. Free marketing plan templates are available for download from the Internet. You can also use a marketing plan worksheet to help you brainstorm your ideas, goals and objectives. Once you have an outline of your marketing objectives, you can create an effective plan.
How Do I Write a Marketing Plan?
Make sure your marketing plan includes these points:
- Start with a description of the business, including mission statement and overall intent. Include goals, the organization of the business, the products or services provided with branding, and the target market.
- Outline results of market research, including identification of target market, customer demographics and profiles, market influences, economy, competition, customer satisfaction and identification of strengths and weaknesses the business may face.
- Set pricing based on business and manufacturing costs, break-even point, profit analysis, competitive pricing and the amount buyers are willing to pay.
- Include profiles of your target market, including demographics, their habits, qualities valued by customers, potential customers not being currently reached, ways to reach these customers and any changes customers might want.
- Analyze the competition based on talking to their customers, visiting their business and checking out their website. Find out about their products, branding, advertising and marketing. Pinpoint how your product or service differs.
- State goals that create a defined marketing direction. Plan objectives that outline specific actions that will achieve goals. Be as specific and realistic as possible, and describe how you will measure attainment of objectives and goals.
- Make a plan to put objectives in action to attain goals. For example, if your goal is to increase product reorders by 25 percent in the next year, make an objective to contact clients by phone or email within one month of sales, offering a return-order discount.
- Define your company’s distribution method such as direct sales, wholesale, print mail, telemarketing, advertising, networking, Internet marketing or a direct sales force.
- Create a marketing budget, such as a specific percentage of revenue or a particular portion of your annual budget. Every product or service needs a budget. Determine how many products or services you will need to sell to make a profit.
- Analyze the success of marketing efforts to determine what’s working and what’s not working. How many sales occurred? Are buyers happy? How many sales calls were necessary to make sales?
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How Much Does a Marketing Plan Cost?
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Are you taking a good, honest look at your company's marketing plan every year? If not, you absolutely should be.
An annual marketing plan helps set your strategic marketing on the right track to make your team's business goals a reality. Think of it as a high-level guide that plans out the direction of your team's campaigns, goals, and growth.
Without one, things can get disorganized — and it's really hard to put a number on the capital you'll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you'll encounter over the course of a year if you don't have a plan laid out.
Remember that the type of marketing plan required can differ based on your industry and your marketing team's objectives.
If you're considering hiring an external partner or agency to assist with your marketing plan, the pricing can vary significantly. The marketing cost hinges on the specific elements encompassed within your strategic plan.
Understanding Marketing Plan Pricing
What is the cost of a marketing plan? The industry average cost of a marketing plan varies from $10,000 to $40,000+. At LAIRE, the price of a professional marketing plan is between $15,000 and $25,000.
At the high end, you can expect a typical marketing plan to be almost as long as a business plan, complete with:
- A detailed competitive analysis
- Content audit and keyword gap analysis
- Website audit
- Information about your ideal customers, or buyer personas
- Sales process research
- Social media audit
- One year or 6-month marketing plan
At the lower end, you could expect to cover messaging, ideal target clients, which channels to market to and why, and a full year of strategy and tactics to reach identified goals.
How Much Does a Marketing Strategy Cost?
A marketing plan and a marketing strategy are related concepts, but they serve different purposes in your overall business strategy.
A marketing strategy is a high-level, long-term approach that outlines your business's goals, target audience, positioning, and the general methods you'll use to achieve your objectives.
A marketing plan is a more detailed and actionable guide that outlines specific tactics, campaigns, and activities you'll implement to execute your marketing strategy. It includes timelines, budgets, and specific goals for each campaign.
Costs for a marketing strategy can vary depending on the complexity of your business, the depth of research required, and whether you're working with a professional strategist or doing it in-house. Marketing costs for a small business’ strategy can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, and even more for larger enterprises.
All in all, it's important to consider the strategy and the plan as investments that contribute to your business's overall growth and success.
Marketing Package Pricing Is Based on the Components of Your Strategic Plan
The Marketing Action Plan by LAIRE ® (MAP) is offered to all of our incoming inbound marketing clients. We also offer it as a standalone project for those who are looking to get a clear direction for their business.
We develop this custom marketing plan before we write any content, publish any social posts, build ads, or touch your website. The MAP is key to informing every marketing material handled by LAIRE and should even be shared with your other marketing providers and sales team to make sure all messaging is in sync.
Our MAP focuses on five foundations of your business in regard to pricing digital marketing services:
1. Company Goals
When we discuss your company goals, it’s a matter of understanding what you want to get out of our work together. This goal is generally tied to top-line revenue and can guide us in knowing exactly how much it’s going to take to help you reach those goals within our ability as your online marketing partner.
It will also guide our conversion and web traffic targets, which ultimately inform our ad budget recommendations, social post frequency, and blog publishing cadence.
2. Buyer Personas
Identifying and getting to know your ideal buyer personas is vital to attracting the best clients to your website and landing pages. This stage is the most research-intensive phase of developing your MAP. We typically develop three to five buyer personas.
To develop the personas, we interview your actual best clients. We learn about their lifestyle, purchasing habits, pain points that lead them to you, why they chose you against the competition, demographics, psychographics, and more.
The information gained will inform the content plan and marketing channels used to target the right type of client for your business.
3. Strategic Messaging
Your ideal buyer persona’s pains, problems, and challenges become the basis for all our positioning and messaging about your business and product offerings. This strategic messaging will use their exact wording in question form and include exactly how your solution can fix that pain point.
This messaging can be used in website product pages, blog topics, social posts, fliers, brochures, and other non-digital media. Ideal buyer personas will be revisited periodically as trends shift and buyers’ habits change.
4. Your Solution
Positioning your products and services around the specific challenges of your ideal client is key to being able to grow your business. The message of providing a solution is only valuable if you are actually providing that solution.
Sometimes, this is an eye-opening moment where a business can find there are some slight adjustments to make to their offering to maximize effectiveness and delight their ideal clients even further.
5. Your Differentiators
Once your products and services are fine-tuned to meet the specific needs identified by our client persona research, it’s time to find your differentiating factors.
What makes you remarkable ? What’s going to make your ideal client choose you over the competition? Is it your commitment to customer service? Is it your superior product? Is it your long-term experience? Is it your big success stories? Is it a specific stat?
We’ll help you discover this through persona research, and we’ll ultimately craft these “remarkables” into all your messaging to maximize conversions.
If a client comes to us in need of a full website build or redesign, there would be additional pieces to their MAP that are customized to meet their business goals.
LAIRE Marketing Plan Breakdown
The resulting online marketing package you’ll have in hand will include:
- An executive summary
- Growth goals and targets to reach
- Target market research (ideal buyer personas)
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure success
- Your product and pricing (including the “remarkables” that make you unique)
- A comprehensive plan for branding, positioning, messaging, content strategy, social media, website optimizations, and more
- A timeline for putting these pieces into place, taking your resources and budget into account
Now that you know what goes into a marketing plan, you can see that jumping right into tactics without a clear MAP would be disjointed and not as effective.
By crafting a strategic plan up front, you have a roadmap that helps you keep all your marketing efforts consistent, establish the correct goals, keep track of progress, make necessary adjustments, and inform your future decisions.
Without a marketing plan, you could waste hundreds or thousands of dollars using an unclear message, on the wrong channel, targeting the wrong buyer — making you spin your wheels with no results. With a marketing plan, you know exactly who you are targeting, why, and how.
How Much Is a Marketing Campaign?
Once you do have a plan in place and it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, you might be wondering “How much does a marketing campaign cost?”...
A marketing campaign cost breakdown can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors. There is no fixed price, as each campaign is unique and tailored to the specific goals, target audience, channels, and strategies involved.
Here are some factors that can influence the average marketing campaign cost:
- Campaign scope and goals: The complexity and breadth of your campaign's goals will influence the cost. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales? Some industries are more competitive than others, and highly competitive industries often require higher budgets to achieve visibility.
- Target audience: The size and specificity of your target audience can impact costs. If you're targeting a broad audience, it might require more resources compared to a niche target. If your campaign targets multiple regions or countries, costs may increase due to localization efforts and different advertising rates.
- Content and design: Creating high-quality content and designs, such as videos, graphics, articles, and infographics, can contribute to the overall cost of marketing. Content marketing costs depend on its complexity and the quantity needed.
- Advertising budget: If your campaign involves paid advertising , your budget for ad spend will be a significant factor. For example, the average cost for small business advertising can vary significantly based on factors such as the chosen platforms, targeting options, and competition.
- Timeline: The duration of your campaign can affect costs. Longer campaigns might require ongoing content creation and management.
- Testing and optimization: Depending on the campaign's requirements, you might need to invest in marketing automation tools, analytics platforms, or other software. Building in resources for A/B testing and campaign optimization can also add to the overall cost.
- In-house vs outsourced: Whether you handle the campaign in-house or hire external agencies or freelancers will impact costs. With our MAP process, clients receive their strategic plan to either implement themselves or continue working with us for ongoing implementation and management.
Due to these variables, the cost of a marketing campaign can range from a few hundred dollars for a small, targeted digital marketing campaign to several thousand dollars for a large-scale, multi-channel initiative.
But no matter the size of your business, it's crucial to define your goals, set a realistic budget, and work with marketing professionals to develop a tailored plan that aligns with your objectives and resources.
How Much Is a Marketing Plan?... Priceless
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How much does marketing cost?” The reality is: You can’t put a price on strategic, data-driven marketing plans and initiatives.
When you truly understand your ideal buyers, consistently provide them with helpful content, and optimize your website for lead generation, you create a system that can reach your target audience and convert leads into customers at any time of day. It’s like having a salesperson who never takes a day off.
At LAIRE, we don’t do anything without a strategic plan in place. Whether you need a monthly, quarterly, or yearly marketing plan, we are your marketing partner, and your business growth is our goal.
If you have questions about our digital marketing packages pricing, reach out to our team today . We’re looking forward to connecting with you!
B2B Sales and Marketing Leader | CEO at LAIRE, a Digital Growth Agency - Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Marketer, Sales Team Builder, and Change Advocate.
What digital marketing roles make up a successful agency, what to include in your quarterly marketing report, how much does it cost to hire a marketing agency.
How Much Does a Startup Marketing Plan Cost
1. how much does a startup marketing plan cost, 2. the benefits of having a marketing plan, 3. the different types of marketing plans, 4. the cost of traditional marketing plans, 5. the cost of digital marketing plans, 6. how to create a marketing plan on a budget, 7. tips for saving money on your marketing plan, 8. how to get the most out of your marketing plan, 9. wrapping up.
A startup marketing plan is a critical piece of any new businesss success puzzle, but it can be difficult to put together especially if youre not sure where to start.
The cost of a startup marketing plan will vary depending on the size and scope of your business, as well as the specific marketing goals you hope to achieve. However, there are some rough estimates you can use to get a general idea of how much your marketing plan might cost.
If youre working with a limited budget, you may want to consider hiring a freelance marketing consultant to help you put together your plan. While this will obviously cost more than doing it yourself, it can be a worthwhile investment if you dont have the time or expertise to do it on your own.
A basic marketing plan for a small startup with a limited budget might cost around $500-$1,000. This would cover the cost of market research, developing messaging and positioning, and creating basic marketing materials like a website and some printed collateral.
If you have a bit more money to work with, you could beef up your marketing plan by adding in additional elements like PR, social media , and email marketing. A more comprehensive plan like this would likely cost $2,000-$5,000 or more.
Of course, these are just rough estimates the actual cost of your startup marketing plan will depend on a number of factors. But hopefully this gives you a better idea of what to expect when budgeting for your marketing efforts.
A marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing strategy and tactics for a specific time period. It can be used to track progress, identify new opportunities, and make course corrections along the way.
There are many benefits of having a marketing plan , regardless of the size or stage of your business. A marketing plan can help you:
- Define your target market
- Research your competition
- set realistic goals and objectives
- Develop strategies to reach your target market
- Measure your progress and ROI
- Make course corrections as needed
A marketing plan is a valuable tool for any business, large or small. If you don't have a marketing plan in place, now is the time to create one.
Assuming you are referring to the cost of marketing plans for startups , the answer to this question is that it depends on the type of marketing plan you need. There are different types of marketing plans and each one has a different price tag.
The most basic type of marketing plan is the product launch plan. This is usually a one-time event that is designed to generate buzz and excitement for a new product or service. The cost of a product launch plan will vary depending on the size and scope of the launch. A small product launch might only cost a few thousand dollars, while a large product launch could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Another type of marketing plan is the growth plan. Growth plans are designed to help startups scale their businesses by increasing sales and market share. The cost of a growth plan will vary depending on the size and scope of the growth goals. A small startup might only need a few thousand dollars to implement a growth plan, while a large startup might need hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The final type of marketing plan is the exit plan. Exit plans are designed for startups that are looking to sell their business . The cost of an exit plan will vary depending on the size and scope of the sale. A small startup might only need a few thousand dollars to implement an exit plan, while a large startup might need hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A traditional marketing plan for a startup can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and even more for larger companies. The cost of developing and implementing a marketing plan depends on the size of the company, the industry, the target market, and the budget.
The first step in developing a marketing plan is to conduct a situation analysis, which includes an analysis of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This information is used to develop objectives and strategies. The next step is to create a marketing mix, which is a combination of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place.
The product includes the features and benefits of the product or service. The price is the amount of money charged for the product or service. The promotion is the way in which the product or service is advertised and marketed. The place is the distribution channel through which the product or service is sold.
Once the marketing mix is developed, it is important to create a budget. The budget should be based on the objectives and strategies of the marketing plan. The budget should also be realistic and achievable.
After the budget is set, it is time to implement the marketing plan . This includes creating tactics, which are specific actions that will be taken to achieve the objectives of the marketing plan. Tactics can include advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and sales promotions.
Once the marketing plan is implemented, it is important to monitor and evaluate the results. This includes tracking sales, customer satisfaction, and other measures of success. Adjustments should be made to the marketing mix as necessary to achieve desired results.
When it comes to startup marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. And depending on the size of your team and your budget, the cost of your marketing plan can vary greatly.
If you're just getting started, you may be tempted to try to do everything yourself. But trust us, that's not the best use of your time or your money. The truth is, you don't need to break the bank to get started with a solid marketing plan .
In fact, we've put together a few different options for you, depending on your needs and budget.
For smaller budgets:
If you're working with a smaller budget, you'll want to focus on the basics: a solid website, some SEO keywords, and a social media presence . You can do a lot of this yourself, but it will take some time and effort.
If you want to outsource some of the work, we recommend hiring a freelance copywriter to help with your website and social media content. This will free up your time so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
For larger budgets:
If you have a larger budget, you can afford to be more aggressive with your marketing plan. In addition to the basics, you'll want to focus on paid advertising, email marketing, and event marketing.
You'll also want to consider hiring a full-time marketing manager to oversee your plan and help implement it. This is an important investment, but it's one that will pay off in the long run.
No matter what size budget you're working with, remember that a solid marketing plan is essential for any startup. By taking the time to create a plan and invest in your marketing, you'll be setting your business up for success.
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Creating a marketing plan for a startup can be a daunting task, especially if you're on a tight budget. But with a little creativity and some elbow grease, it is possible to create an effective marketing plan on a shoestring budget .
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Do your research
Before you start spending money on marketing, it's important to do your homework and understand your target market . Who are your ideal customers? What do they want and need? What are their pain points?
Answering these questions will help you create a focused marketing strategy that is more likely to resonate with your target audience.
2. Get creative with your marketing channels
There are endless marketing channels available, both online and offline. And while it's tempting to want to be everywhere at once, it's important to be strategic about which channels you use.
Think about where your target customers are most likely to be spending their time. If they're active on social media, then focus your efforts there. If they're more likely to read industry-specific blogs, then guest blogging or writing articles for those sites might be a better use of your time and resources.
3. Use free or low-cost tools and resources
When you're working on a tight budget, every penny counts. Fortunately, there are plenty of free or low-cost marketing tools and resources available online. From social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to online directories like Yelp and Google My Business, there are many ways to get your business name out there without breaking the bank.
4. Measure your results
It's important to track the results of your marketing efforts so that you can see what's working and what's not. This will help you fine-tune your strategy and make the most of your limited budget.
There are a number of free web analytics tools available, such as Google Analytics, that can help you track your website traffic and conversions. You can also use social media analytics tools to track your followers, engagement, and reach.
5. Get help from experts
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought of creating a marketing plan on a tight budget, consider enlisting the help of a marketing consultant or agency. They can provide guidance and support to ensure that your marketing efforts are as effective as possible.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much a startup marketing plan should cost, following these tips can help you create a plan that is both affordable and effective.
How to Create a Marketing Plan on a Budget - How Much Does a Startup Marketing Plan Cost
As a startup, you are likely working with a limited budget. This can make it difficult to allocate funds for marketing initiatives. However, there are ways to save money on your startup marketing plan.
Before you start spending money on marketing, it is important to do your research. This will help you understand what strategies are likely to be most effective for your business . It will also give you a better sense of how much you should budget for marketing.
2. Focus on digital marketing
Digital marketing is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods . Additionally, it allows you to reach a wider audience with your message. Therefore, it is a good idea to focus your marketing efforts on digital channels.
3. Utilize free or low-cost tools and resources
There are many free or low-cost marketing tools and resources available online. These can be extremely helpful when you are trying to save money on your marketing plan.
4. Get creative with your marketing budget
There are many creative ways to stretch your marketing budget. For example, you could offer discounts or freebies in exchange for social media mentions. Or, you could barter your services with another business in exchange for advertising space.
5. Hire a freelance marketer
Hiring a freelance marketer can be a cost-effective way to get help with your marketing efforts. This option can be especially helpful if you only need assistance on a part-time or project basis.
By following these tips, you can save money on your startup marketing plan. However, it is important to remember that effective marketing requires a significant investment of time and resources. Therefore, you should only use these tips as a starting point in developing your overall marketing strategy .
Tips for Saving Money on Your Marketing Plan - How Much Does a Startup Marketing Plan Cost
As a startup, you may be wondering how much your marketing plan should cost. The answer, of course, depends on many factors, including the size of your company, your industry, and your goals.
However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to ensure you're getting the most out of your marketing budget.
1. Set realistic expectations
Before you start spending money on marketing, it's important to set realistic expectations. If you're a small startup, you're not going to have the same budget as a large corporation.
That doesn't mean you can't be successful, but you need to be realistic about what you can achieve with your limited resources.
2. Know your audience
It's also important to know who your target audience is. This will help you determine where to spend your marketing dollars and how to reach them.
For example, if you're targeting millennials, you'll want to focus on digital marketing channels like social media and email marketing .
3. Focus on ROI
When it comes to marketing, it's important to focus on ROI (return on investment). There's no point in spending money on a campaign that doesn't generate leads or sales.
Instead, focus on strategies that will help you track and measure results so you can see what's working and what's not.
4. Hire a professional
If you're not sure where to start with your marketing plan, it might be worth hiring a professional agency or consultant. They can help you develop a strategy that fits your budget and meets your goals.
5. Be flexible
Finally, be flexible with your marketing plan. Things change all the time in the world of marketing, so don't be afraid to adjust your strategy as needed.
If something isn't working, don't be afraid to try something new. The most important thing is to keep moving forward and adapting to change.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Plan - How Much Does a Startup Marketing Plan Cost
When it comes to marketing a startup, there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of factors to consider. The cost of marketing a startup can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of the business, the products or services offered, the target market, and the marketing goals.
That said, a startup marketing plan doesn't have to be expensive. There are a number of low-cost or even no-cost marketing strategies that can be highly effective. The key is to have a clear understanding of your goals and to be strategic in your approach .
Here are a few final thoughts on the cost of marketing a startup:
1. Don't skimp on market research.
Before you launch any marketing initiatives, it's important to have a good understanding of your target market . This includes understanding their needs, wants, and pain points. Good market research will help you create better marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with your target market.
2. Be strategic with your budget.
Once you have a handle on your target market and your marketing goals, you can start to allocate your budget in a more strategic way. Not all marketing initiatives will be equally effective or necessary. Prioritize the initiatives that are most likely to help you achieve your goals and get the most bang for your buck.
3. Consider using low-cost or no-cost marketing strategies.
There are a number of low-cost or even no-cost marketing strategies that can be effective for startups. These include content marketing, social media marketing , and search engine optimization (SEO).
4. Hire a professional marketing consultant.
If you're not sure where to start or how to best allocate your budget, consider hiring a professional marketing consultant. A good consultant can help you develop a comprehensive marketing plan and provide guidance on which initiatives will be most effective for your business.
Wrapping Up - How Much Does a Startup Marketing Plan Cost
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How Much Does a Marketing Plan for a Small Business Cost?
If you caught our last article on small business marketing, you learned why marketing is an investment – not an expense .
Good marketing impacts EVERYTHING: if people find you, how others view your business, and whether customers buy your stuff and tell all their friends.
With any smart investment, you need to know where you’re headed (goals) and how to get there (strategy). Strategies and goals are the two main components of a solid marketing plan.
A marketing plan is like a business roadmap, showing you what you need to do to get people to give you their money.
You may be thinking, “That sounds great and all, but where the heck do I start? And how much will I have to fork over to get it done?”
We’ll answer these all-important questions in just a moment. Let’s start with why you need a plan in the first place and what that plan should include.
What’s a Small Business Marketing Plan?
This is a road map that explains what actions your business should take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. It should outline your vision and goals, the strategies to reach those goals, and the budget you need to make it happen.
A marketing plan will also describe where to spend how much of your marketing budget. It can be updated annually (or more frequently) as you learn what works for your business and what’s not so hot in your industry.
Without a plan, you’ll be flying blind. Your marketing department could end up wasting a whole lot of time and money on efforts that don’t produce any real results.
What Should My Marketing Plan Include?
Here are some sections that companies routinely include in their marketing plans.
1. Company Overview
Really get to know your company for this section – warts and all. What products and services do you offer? Who are your primary customers? What are your business’s strengths and weaknesses?
Take a good look at financial reports, departmental budgets, and your company history to understand how money is being allocated and if it’s being used effectively.
Interview someone on the sales team for more insight into customer behavior for feedback on what products and services are resonating with people.
Include a summary of your company culture in this section as well.
2. SWOT Analysis
Write down your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to assess where your business stands in the marketplace and possibilities for growth.
3. Target Audience
Who already loves what you’re selling? Create profiles of your ideal customers to use as the basis for your marketing. Where do they spend time online? What channels do they often use? What’re their buying habits? How old are they, and what are their greatest desires and fears?
4. Marketing Goals
What are your marketing and sales objectives that you want to accomplish throughout the upcoming term? Set quantifiable goals and summarize how you plan to reach each one. Do you want to grow your sales by a certain percentage? Are you planning on getting most of your leads through email marketing or Facebook? Or are you prioritizing SEO this year and focusing on website traffic?
Who are your top competitors? Make sure you research what marketing techniques are working for them and what tools and strategies they’re implementing. You can learn a lot from other successful businesses in your industry.
6. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes you different from everyone else? Your USP can give you an advantage over your competition. Is it your customer service? Do you offer the best prices? Are your products or services leaps and bounds better than the competition’s?
7. Channels & Strategies
Based on your target audience, choose what channels and strategies you’d like to implement in the coming year for marketing. Popular inbound marketing platforms and tactics include:
- Social media
- Search engines
How much are you planning on spending on marketing in general? Small businesses generally allocate 7% to 12% of their gross revenue to marketing.
How Much Will My Marketing Plan Cost?
That depends. You knew this was coming. For us to give you a definitive answer, we’d need to sit down and chat with you about your goals and business and stuff. Which we’d love to do – whenever you’re up for it.
The cost will depend on two main factors:
- Type of marketing plan: Will your project include content marketing, social media marketing, website design , paid marketing, or some kind of combo?
- Your partner: Are you going to work with an agency or a freelancer? If you choose an agency, size and prestige can make a massive difference in the cost.
You can expect to pay anywhere in the ballpark of $5,000 to $40,000 for a solid marketing plan.
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Marketing Plan Cost: Why You Should Expect a $27k Budget
Marketing is essential for businesses of all sizes, but creating a marketing plan can be time-consuming and confusing at times. While some companies opt to develop marketing plans internally, others prefer to seek external help from marketing agencies . In this case, the marketing plan will come at a cost.
The exact cost of a marketing plan can vary based on several factors, such as the size of the agency and the extent of the market research involved.
The often-talked-about figure for a marketing budget is anywhere between 5 to 25% of revenue. However, in this article, we’ll delve deeper into:
- The average price of a marketing plan
- The different elements that go into a marketing plan
- How to develop your marketing budget
- How to choose your marketing channels and their average prices
As a B2B platform bringing together companies with marketing agencies since 2014, Sortlist has a large database of information on the pricing trends of marketing expertises from around the world.
In the last 3 years alone, we have accumulated data from over 80,000 projects and 39,000 agencies , which has given us thousands of points to analyze and report on market trends and prices.
In this article
Average marketing plan cost: $26,871
Elements of a marketing plan, factors that affect marketing plan costs, strategic approach, agency size, market research, marketing budget - costs of marketing channels based on company objectives, companies looking for growth - $59,371 on paid, companies in a moment of change or challenge - $44,853 on organic, companies looking for perpetual motion , keeping things in-house or working with a marketing agency, building a budget for your target revenue .
Although conducting a marketing plan internally may not incur any additional costs, a company can opt to get an external opinion on its campaign or overall marketing strategy from an agency. In this case, the marketing plan will come at a cost.
The exact cost of a marketing plan may vary, making it difficult to provide a specific figure . However, you can find agencies that will charge anywhere between $5,000 to $40,000 to sit down and plan out your marketing strategies with you. However, you can find prices as low as $2,000 if you are an SMB or nonprofit organization.
But just like the size and nature of your company, many factors will affect the price of your marketing plan.
At Sortlist, the average cost of a marketing plan developed by an agency is $26,871 (disclaimer: some of these projects included market research as well). However, over the past 4 years, the average has slowly decreased.
But why does it cost this much? The reality is that a plan comes with lots of research in order for a company's objectives to be met. Internal research, competitive analysis, external research...an agency will need to work on various other marketing expertises such as market research in order to cover all the elements of a marketing plan.
Without a proper marketing plan, it can be difficult to launch a successful marketing campaign. In fact, companies that plan their marketing strategies in advance are over 313% more likely to achieve success . However, creating an extensive marketing plan can be overwhelming due to the numerous elements involved.
To simplify the process, you should follow a similar approach to the one below:
- Identifying goals
- Figuring out your target audience
- Workshopping or conducting research (based on the overall objectives)
- Creating a marketing budget
- Deciding on channels
- Sometimes, it may need to be pitched as well
Here are some factors that can influence the cost of a marketing plan that has been created with the help of an external agency :
No two agencies will approach the development of a marketing plan in the same way. Not only will they have a baseline framework they work with, but it will also depend on what they are presented with from the client’s side .
We spoke to Sortlist agency 3manfactory who highlighted their objective-driven approach.
We work on the OKRs method…objective settings. Objectives and key results. What are the objectives that we have for our kind of marketing teams? Nathaniel Cassidy - Chief Strategist & MD at 3manfactory
Others such as Plant a Flag , like to do in-depth analyses into who you are as a company with various methodologies before getting started on the planning.
If you decide to approach a large, well-known marketing agency to design your marketing plan, it’s most likely that your marketing plan will cost much more than a small local agency.
Here is the general trend of works posted on Sortlist by our agencies in comparison to their team sizes. (Please note that these works take into consideration all projects and not just marketing plans).
Bigger agencies may have more people at hand, however, they may also have more projects to tackle at any given time meaning they might not have the time to focus as much on you.
Lastly, most agencies will want to base the development of your marketing plan on thorough market research . However, the more precise you want your data to be, the more costly the research may result.
The average cost of works posted by agencies that include an element of market research is $44,980
Common marketing research practices include but are not limited to:
- Social media listening
- Focus groups
- Competitive analysis
- Sales data analysis
When it comes to planning your marketing budget , it should always be need-based . While an agency can assist with its development, it may be beneficial to attempt it independently to gain a better understanding of the type of agency you would prefer to partner with.
A marketing budget will usually rely on the investments your company is looking to make in different marketing channels . The price of these channels and the campaigns you will run on them will determine your overall expected spending in marketing.
You can build your marketing plan based on the needs that your company is:
- Looking for growth
- In a moment of change or challenge
- Looking to maintain its current revenue, but in a more efficient manner; perpetual motion
To avoid either overspending or underinvesting, you should be familiar with the general rule of marketing budgets.
From a broad pricing point of view, the often talked about figure is anywhere between 5 to 25% of revenue that should be spent on marketing. And that's B2B, B2C. Nathaniel from 3manfactory
With over 33,000 projects posted on Sortlist's website last year, we were able to compare the expected budgets from client briefs vs the actual price of the works once they had collaborated with our agencies.
We focused on several popular sectors to highlight the disparity between expected and actual costs to provide estimated budgets for each expertise and help you better develop your marketing budget .
If you're a start-up business , scale-up, or even a large organization, and a boost of revenue is what you are looking for, you’ll need to invest in areas that you have yet to explore. Additionally, you’ll need to think outside the box and look at channels that your competitors have yet to explore as well. You’ll have to innovate.
Channels that are usually linked to companies looking for a boost in revenue are:
- Paid media (social media ads, search engine advertising, promoted content…)
- Marketing communication ( influencer marketing , event marketing…)
Over the past 4 years, social media marketing and online advertising works averaged $59,371 across all sectors.
Social media marketing - 555% more costly than expected
Social media ads have become a popular means of paid advertising for companies looking to reach certain audiences. The average expected budget of projects however has often been much lower than the actual work.
Over the past 4 years, there has been an increase in the average cost of social media projects.
This may be attributed to the surge in social media usage , particularly during the pandemic, and the presence of large, readily accessible populations that businesses can target.
Companies often undershoot just how much social media ads and campaigns are in order to see a positive ROI. For instance, within the Governmnet and Administration sector, their budgeting for social media projects are typically 591% lower than the actual costs, 36% over the average of 555% .
Online advertising - Only 83% more costly than expected in Management & Consulting
After a company has done all it can with its SEO, it’s time to start looking into SEA (search engine advertising) or general online advertising . You can target more specific audiences and be more in control of your position on the SERPs for your desired keywords.
Just like with social media, online advertising projects have continued to increase in the past 4 years. The market is becoming more saturated and bidding has become more competitive.
Online advertising also comes with the digitalization of companies . Online marketing can give a business valuable insight into its customers.
It can be hard to create an online advertising budget if you are not familiar with its way of working. With pay-per-click management , you may not know how much you would need to bid on certain keywords you would like to rank for. This is why working with an agency can help avoid these disparities in expected budget vs real budget.
In moments where growth is not the primary objective, and instead, the focus is on sustaining the business or navigating a crisis , your marketing channel priorities will include:
- Owned media (content marketing, videos, customer stories,)
- Email marketing
- Shared media (reviews, social forums…)
In such circumstances, it’s essential to optimize channels that demand minimal financial investment but also, ones that will allow you to communicate with your current customers and convey trust signals.
SEO - Average project costs $24,370 more than the expected budget
On average, an SEO project costs $29,062 , which is 512% higher than the typical estimate provided by clients. While SEO is often considered a cost-effective channel, it still requires a significant investment to be executed properly.
SEO project prices have slowly decreased in cost in the past 4 years. But not only that, projects have too.
This could be due to the fact that SEO is too volatile of a process and can never guarantee results . Nor can it give them instantaneously. If companies are looking for an immediate reaction to their actions, SEO isn't a channel they can rely on.
Human resources often work with SEO to attract job candidates. Given that 80% of jobs are found online , it is unsurprising that HR companies focus their marketing efforts on this channel. However, their budget predictions are usually much lower than the actual project costs. HR SEO projects tend to be 903% more costly than anticipated.
Content marketing - $49,078 on average per project
Content marketing is the most costly organic marketing channel. Given that content marketing covers any form of content from text to video, depending on the kind of content you are looking to produce, you may need to project a higher-than-expected budget.
Video content marketing is becoming the new trend of recent years.
People no longer have the time to read texts , and instead, are looking for quick, audio, or visual content to get the information they need.
Sports content marketing relies heavily on video content. It is normal then to see that the average works are much more costly than expected. Video requires lots of planning and most importantly, post-production, which can be costly given the equipment, time, and labor required.
Email marketing projects are 213% more costly in real estate than the average
Average email marketing projects cost $38,634 . It is a great channel to keep in touch with your existing clientele, gain some insightful data and keep a constant rapport, however, it can come at a price.
The price of email marketing projects has stayed relatively the same for the past 4 years. Although there have been some peaks here and there, the trend can prove that email marketing is not dead .
While the majority of sectors tend to underestimate the cost of email marketing projects , there are two notable exceptions. Non-profit organizations, on average, come closest to budgeting accurately, with a projected cost only 5% below the actual cost .
On the other hand, sports companies tend to vastly overestimate the budget required, with an average projected cost that is 237% higher than the actual cost .
If your company is not seeking growth or experiencing significant challenges, but rather aiming to improve the efficiency of its marketing campaigns, the optimal approach would be to retain the existing channels and seek external guidance from experts on how to minimize time and potential costs.
Average branding work costs $38,362 - 50% less for Internet companies
One channel you may want to rework is your branding . Perhaps your logo has an intricate design and is quite costly and time-consuming to print.
The average cost of a branding project is currently $38,362 , and it has experienced a downward trend over the past few years.
Branding encompasses a wide range of activities that a company could undertake, including logo redesign , positioning, localization, corporate identity, and more. As a highly dynamic expertise, it can be subject to fluctuations.
Like many other marketing expertises, branding is also susceptible to companies underestimating the costs of projects. This is particularly true in the publishing industry , where companies have budgeted an average of 2334% less than the actual cost of completed branding projects.
You may be debating whether to keep things in-house or to work with an agency .
While developing a marketing plan in-house may seem like a cost-effective option, engaging in a collaborative effort or outsourcing the task to a marketing agency could potentially provide a more cost-efficient solution .
Relying solely on an in-house team may result from a limited perspective of your company and the absence of key employees necessary to generate innovative ideas . In order to explore new avenues, boost revenue, and grow, it may be necessary to seek out individuals or agencies with new expertise.
If you're looking for growth, realistically, you need to be able to tap into spaces that you haven't accessed before. You might be looking at breaking into channels that your industry isn't recognized in. Nathaniel Cassidy
Last year, Sortlist received 4,000 social media projects for its thousands of social media agencies. If your business has yet to experiment with social media advertising and lacks a dedicated social media manager within your marketing team, you may struggle to access this expertise. Without prior experience, it can be difficult to determine whether social media ads are the best strategy to increase revenue.
In a case similar to this one, a marketing agency can provide extensive breadth and depth of knowledge and experience across a broad range of marketing disciplines to guide your business toward its objectives more effectively.
Let us help you build the perfect marketing plan
Discover the most relevant agencies for your project based on your own specific requirements.
Alone, it can be difficult to budget just how much you need to invest in different marketing channels in order to see tangible results. If you are looking to explore new grounds, without prior knowledge, you may end up undershooting your budget and not seeing your desired ROI in the long run.
To get a better idea of how companies usually undershoot their marketing budgets, here is the comparison between the average budgets of projects businesses expect to be vs what they really cost once they've sought collaboration with an agency.
Why the gap?
With the rise of digital and self-service channels, anyone can advertise on Spotify's audio platform without prior experience. But self-service tools are like a pencil - anyone can use them, but the outcome depends on the user's skill and knowledge. Despite this, people often assume that such tools are easy to use and the same goes for marketing. Nathaniel Cassidy of 3manfactory on how agencies can bring more experience to the table
But technological advancements nowadays may help by showing that experience and expertise are essential for achieving successful results. People realize that they don't get the same result when they use these tools compared to someone else, an agency, who has 20 years of experience behind them.
To achieve the desired return on investment, businesses must budget for their desired revenue rather than the one they currently have . This means investing appropriate resources, in addition to considering the experience of the agency.
For example, if a company previously allocated 5% of its budget to marketing and achieved a modest ROI, it may be necessary to increase the investment to up to 15% of company revenue to attain the next level of growth.
The cost of a marketing plan will first and foremost depend on whether you decide to develop the plan in-house or with a marketing agency. If you are looking to outsource the task, costs can vary depending on the size and nature of your company, the objectives, the channels, and the agency you decide to hire.
While it may be tempting to keep marketing in-house to save costs, working with an external agency can provide a more cost-efficient solution, particularly for companies that lack the necessary expertise and experience in certain areas. They can also prove beneficial when coming to budget different marketing channels.
Anne-Gaëlle is a self described "third culture kid" who trained as a journalist before dedicating herself to all matters marketing. Finding digital marketing strategy particularly inspiring she loves it when it's integrated with her second passion: sport. Just ask her about Perrier's especially awesome adverts at Roland Garros!
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How Much Does Marketing Cost?
I just reviewed an RFP for marketing services. It was a very detailed, well written RFP. And the client was asking for everything. Which is not a problem…unless your budget is limited.
Do you know how much marketing costs? How much should it cost? What should you pay for good advice when it comes to your marketing strategy?
I’ll try to unpack the answers to this complex question below. My answers lead to a few more questions, which I’ll have to address in future posts. Read on, and let me know what you think…
How much is a marketing plan?
Just the term “marketing plan” can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. Are you looking for a complete, strategic marketing plan, or do you just need a tactical plan or roadmap to guide your marketing programs for the next few months?
I know an independent consultant ( not me ) who charged a start-up $25,000 for a full-blown marketing plan. Did they pay too much? Maybe. That all depends on the results.
If you’re shopping for a marketing plan, consider this before opening your checkbook:
What do you hope to achieve with the plan?
Do you need help identifying the right customers, streamlining your product plans and developing competitive strategies? If so, you need someone who specializes in marketing strategy. Look for a consultant who has executive-level marketing experience that relates to your market or industry.
Expect to pay a few thousand dollars ($2,500-$15,000) for a project that will take several weeks or a few months. Plan to be actively involved, providing access to company and customer information and your business strategy. This effort may include customer research, competitive analysis and exploration of things like your sales process, customer relationships and technical capabilities.
Did you have something more basic in mind? Maybe you need help promoting an upcoming seminar, or launching a new service offering. In that case, a tactical plan is more in line with your needs. In fact, you may not even need a formal, plan document. Instead, a solid project plan with budget, timelines and deliverables may be enough.
You can engage a professional marketing consultant for this work, hire a freelance marketer or call on your agency for assistance. Depending on the scope of your project, an actionable marketing plan like this may run from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars ($750 – $5,000), excluding implementation.
You want me to pay for that?
Don’t be surprised when the consultant or freelancer includes things like a marketing assessment, brand audit or competitive research in their proposal. Understanding the market environment you’re working in is critical to providing sound advice. Scrimp on the foundation, and your strategy will be shaky.
It pays to invest up front so your marketing partners have a strong base of knowledge about your business. This will actually save you money in the long run. A consultant that knows your business will be able to quickly spot trouble areas you might miss, helping you find solutions before you even realize there’s a problem brewing.
Other things that are worth paying for? Professional copywriting, skilled design, SEO analysis and customer feedback, to name a few.
What does a website cost?
This is a common question. I remember paying upwards of $50,000 for web work back in the mid-’90s, knowing I was getting a good deal. Thankfully, technology has become much more accessible, and the availability of exceptional web designers has expanded. (Of course, so has the number if not-so-qualified resources, so be careful.)
The price you pay for a website will depend on a number of factors. You can make your own for free if you’re really stretched, or have a small shop create a simple site based on WordPress to get you going. In fact, WordPress is a pretty powerful CMS (content management system) and many companies are moving to the platform as a viable option for easy to use, highly manageable websites.
Pricing for a basic site will start as low as a few hundred dollars and may reach $10-25,000 depending on size, design and functionality. Add more complexity, and you could be up to $30,000 or more.
What makes the price of a website go up? Adding capabilities like these will cost extra:
- An ecommerce shopping cart so you can sell merchandise or digital downloads online. From freeware like Zen Cart to more sophisticated solutions, getting the right people to work on your ecommerce capabilities can save a lot of headaches.
- User interface (UI) design , UI or UX (user experience), focuses on the usability of your site and the ability of visitors to complete desired actions. If the objective of your site is to provide shopping, search or membership features, an investment in UX work can pay huge dividends in higher conversion rates and more engaged users.
- Custom coding , like a specialized database application, image galleries, or recommendation engine. Thankfully, lots of these items have been packaged up as plug-in or third-party solutions that can be added to your site. However, there is a cost for integrating things like live chat, customer reviews and video capabilities.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – While you might think that web designers are experts at SEO, the fact is that most are not (just as many are not well versed in UX). You may need a separate SEO expert to work on your site, ideally partnering with your web team to build in search-friendly structure from the start. Ongoing SEO support starts about $2500/month and goes up, depending on the size and complexity of your site.
Isn’t social media free?
Sure, you can sign up for Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and hundreds of other social media sites for free. But that’s just the first step. You need to optimize your social media presence, develop a strategy, and post regularly.
You can easily step into social media quicksand if you’re not careful the time you spend managing your company’s social media presence. Is your time better spent doing other things?
Here are a few areas where you may want to hire social media help:
- Social Media Strategy – What are your goals? Where will you invest your time on social media? What is your message? How can you monetize your social media efforts? Are you looking for a hard or soft return on investment (ROI)? A social media strategist can work with you to address these questions and formulate a plan that works for your business. The cost? Usually $500 and up.
- Social Media Policies – Once you have a plan in place, you need to establish social media policies. These are guidelines for your staff that cover appropriate use, showing employees where they are empowered in social channels, and where they need to exercise caution. Well written policies can be priceless, so its worth investing $250 or more to have your own custom policy created.
- Social Communications Calendar – When do you post on your bog? What goes on Facebook? How often should you tweet? What do you say? A communications calendar can help you plan social media content that aligns with your strategy, enabling staff to express your messages in the right way at the right time. Monthly management of your social communications plan may run $500/month or more.
- Outsourced Engagement – Hiring someone to tweet and post on your behalf may sound good, but this is one area I advise clients to be cautious about. There are many risks if you outsource the voice of your business, and the cost to your reputation can be high when things go wrong. With that in mind, if you choose to outsource your tweeting, posting and blogging, hire someone you can work closely with to collaborate on plans and create content. You’ll pay upwards of $50/hour or $500+ a month.
Should I bring marketing in-house?
Based on the prices listed above, you might be thinking that it’s smarter to hire staff to handle your marketing. This is a “yes and no” answer. For things like social engagement (tweeting, Facebook, blogging) I do recommend in house resources. No one knows your business like an employee and this is an area where tight control over content can be essential.
On the other hand, for things like strategy you are probably better off with an experienced consultant. Even if you have a marketing VP or CMO, the insight provided by an expert who brings a broader perspective can help alleviate what I call “ marketing myopia .” You might just be too close to the situation to see everything you need to consider.
In these cases, a consultant can help you assess the market environment and plan strategies for success that your team can implement. If you need some additional assistance, hiring a virtual CMO or a contract marketer for a few months can provide the jump-start you need to accelerate your growth.
It’s cheaper to do it myself
DIY is a terrible malady. It’s a chronic disease for some entrepreneurs. I know, I suffer from it myself. Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re simply trying to squeeze the most from every penny, it’s easy to think, “that’s easy, I can do it.” And you can. But will the results really be what your business deserves?
Do It Yourself marketing is often slow and slightly off target. It may be good, but usually it’s not great. And it comes with a huge opportunity cost. What would you be doing if you weren’t trying to figure out how to get your site to the top of the search engine rankings?
Maybe you’d be closing new business or working on a new product idea that will 10x your revenue. Instead, there you are pulling your hair out, trying to do something you know you can do, but probably shouldn’t. Think about it…
If you loved writing copy, you would have been a copywriter. If you were passionate about market research, you would have chosen that field. And you would have been damn good, I’m sure. But you didn’t.
So hire someone that did and reap the rewards of their passion and expertise. Then get back to running your business, which is what you do best, right?
Still stuck on the cost? Think about the value of your business. What will it take to realize the ROI of that project? Often, it’s as little as one new customer. Keep your perspective and spend strategically.
Do you agree? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Great information. Thanks for the price estimates (super valuable). The only reservation is for those starting out with little or no money. Hiring a professional may be something they can not afford. Sort of chicken and egg situation. Does money go towards product for jobs and sales people to create new jobs or creating a great social media presents that will over time drive business to your door like gang busters?
Sometimes it is a timing issue as well. You may be first on the block but if someone comes along after you with more money to develop a killer sales force as well as a great social media development team; Your company make be perceived as a Johnie come lately by the time your small company is doing well enough to start such a professionally counseled marketing plan.
Can you offer a few guidelines for not botching the DIY process?
Thanks for your comments, Jay. Taking the DIY approach is a challenge, especially for small, bootstrap companies. You may be limited on both time and money, so knowing where to invest can make a big difference.
My suggestion is to focus on what is most visible. Spend a little money with a designer for a stand-out logo you can use on you business cards, website and collateral. Create a consistent look (same fonts, colors, and types of images) and use it on everything you do for a more high-end impression. Try using WordPress for a simple but clean website / blog, and build on that foundation over time.
As your business grows, you’ll have more money to invest in expanding your brand presence and marketing impact.
Great article! I thought I was the only one in this field trying to educate my clients. I will use this page a third party reference. I am in complete alignment with almost everything you wrote.
THANK YOU, JOEY!!! I have had several clients who are stuck on the “Social Media is free” concept. I will second Salvatore’s suggestion of using this post as a reference for clients.
My favorite part of this post “If you loved writing copy, you would have been a copywriter….” Why doesn’t marketing translate like roofing, for example. Sure, you could reroof your house if you had the time, tools and references, but the time and effort it takes away from growing your chosen business is expensive!
Strange that the value of an experienced consultant vs DIY isn’t apparent…
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Great article. As a new small business owner with limited budget I have taken to doing most social media myself BUT I am also part of a paid group that has given me great insight into the social media world and has improved my knowledge. As I have income coming in I will invest more in outsourcing the things I’m not good at and spending my time doing the things I am good at. On the plus side I am learning new traits and won’t have to spend so much as I get better in more areas of social media that I really have found a liking for.
I love the article. It make lot of sense. I have following DIY theory. Honestly It’s crazy sometime because ecommerce is such a huge channel starting from web development to email marketing to CMS. The list just keep going. Recently I have decided to look for help from “good and trusted” marketing firm but the problem is how do I identify which is the right marketing firm or consultant for our business especially when we are a start up with limited budget. Please help. Thank you.
Hi Joe, thanks for your comment. Referrals from other local startups are a great way to find companies that might be a good fit for you. There are more tips in this post that should help: .
I’ll be posting soon on questions to ask your agency, so stay tuned.
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Thnx for publishing this information on your website.
First off, you are a beautiful writer! So many different thoughts and topics in this post, yet all are concise, well-thought out, and helpful!
I will echo what many have said that this is an excellent 3rd-party resource for marketing professionals.
If marketing just “costs”, then why do we do it? It’s ROI that we need to look at on any cost – whether it’s paint, carpet, granite countertops, marketing, advertising, insurance, or IT / technology expenditures.
Frequently (hopefully near always) marketing should not be a cost, but a short term investment with direct, relatively immediate returns. Same with IT – though some is INSURANCE (buy from a local, accessible, servicing vendor – and buying backup systems, antimalware software, etc) – but the bulk of the IT budget is to MULTIPLY productivity of you and your staff, not really an EXPENSE (per se) at all…
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The Real Cost Of Creating A Marketing Strategy And Five Factors That Drive Up The Price
- June 8, 2020
- Ruben Alfonso
This statistic floored me.
Did you know that businesses with planned, documented marketing strategies are over 313% more likely to report successful sales campaigns?
Friends, that’s what those in the world of statistics call a guarantee .
If you’re over 300% more likely to gain sales by doing something, (contingent on it not being illegal) you should be doing that thing!!
And let’s be honest — this isn’t a surprising concept. In fact, you’re probably reading this because you already know you need a marketing strategy . You’re here to answer another question:
“What does it cost?”
Well, you’re not the only one who’s asking!
Today, we’re diving into the cost of creating a marketing strategy, starting with the estimated base costs, variable cost factors and an alternative you can consider if hiring a marketing agency is too much.
And before we go any further — yes, 8 Signal is a marketing agency that specializes in creating fantastic marketing strategies, (if I do say so myself.) But, the point of this post isn’t to convince you to hire us . At least not yet. Let’s go on a couple of coffee dates first.
The point of this post is to give you a tangible idea of the cost of creating a marketing strategy so that you can decide what’s best for your budget and your business.
Let’s do this!
Base Price Estimations:
Much like solving a maze, it’s often most effective to arrive at our goal by working backwards. So, with that in mind, we’re going to look at the average total cost of creating a marketing strategy and then work through each cost component.
The average overall sum that a company will spend on a customized strategic marketing plan ranges from $10,000 – $40,000 . Typically, the base cost of creating that marketing strategy begins below $10,000.
Marketing agencies like 8 Signal that serve medical groups, non-profits, and SMBs (small-to-midsize businesses), usually begin pricing with a $2,000 to $4,000 base, whereas marketing agencies serving larger companies and corporations have a much higher base cost.
Common Cost Factors:
After “laying the base,” there are literally hundreds of factors that could affect the cost of creating a marketing strategy. However, you typically won’t experience more than 10 to 15 price adjustment factors, unless you fall under very specific and obscure circumstances.
Top 5 Marketing Strategy Cost Factors
1. strategic approach.
Every agency has a different strategy, whether it’s a fundamental innovation or a slightly tinkered technicality. (Sidenote, I love tinkers, even though I’m not famous for it — yet.)
Depending on your business and what aspects of their strategy need to be adapted to fit your message, customizing an agency’s strategic approach costs time, consequently raising the overall price.
2. Company size: Client
Depending on the size of your company, your strategic marketing approach may be more involved, therefore increasing your overall cost.
For instance, if you have multiple departments and need each department highlighted in your marketing strategy, that’s going to cost more than if you’re a small operation with only a few areas of focus.
Personally, we like working with organizations that have 2-6 people involved in the creative process of mapping out a marketing strategy. These unique voices give us a well-rounded perspective of the company as a whole without overwhelming the strategic process with information.
3. Company size: Agency
Additionally, the size and scope of your marketing agency can impact the price you pay for your strategy, particularly if you have niche concerns that require expert navigation.
On average, marketing companies with either a larger staff or a more experienced team will be able to handle unique, unexpected nuances for their clients. This can provide more value than agencies that have never worked in your niche or niches that are similar to yours.
Pro Tip : Be sure to ask an agency clarifying questions that give you insight into their experience with your needs before deciding to hire them. Maybe even grab a cup of coffee with them 😉
4. Sales goals
I’m sure it’s no surprise that the specific goals you want to achieve with your marketing strategy will determine how much time is required to map out a plan. And personally, this is an area where we believe the cost is well worth the investment.
CoSchedule — the group that provided the statistics in our intro — also discovered that goal-setting marketers are 376% more likely to have success than those who don’t set specific goals. Of those successful businesses, 70% completed the majority of their goals, and 10% completed every single goal they created.
We promise you — it’s worth spending the time and money to set specific goals for your marketing strategy.
Just like the needs of your business can add to the cost of creating a marketing strategy, the needs of your industry can also drive up your final price.
For example, industries that are highly regulated such as the healthcare industry, government organizations, etc. will take more time for your marketing agency to navigate.
Pro Tip : If the agency you are considering is experienced in working with a particular industry or set of industries, this cost factor could potentially be mitigated. Keep this in mind for the hiring process!
Also, if your company is part of a highly saturated market, your agency may need to innovative unique strategies that keep you above the competition, therefore requiring additional time and — you guessed it — money.
All-in-all, any factor that increases the creation time of your marketing strategy will consequently increase the cost.
The financial cost of creating your own marketing strategy is much lower than outsourcing it to a marketing agency. However, this will require a large time investment from you and your team for the research, creation, and implementation of your marketing plan.
Problems with creating a marketing strategy without professional help typically stem from misinformation. To avoid that, we recommend that you check out Impact BND — an amazing, honest, and skilled marketing company that provides valuable insights for strategic marketing. We love them so much that a couple of our team members participate in their monthly Virtual Peer Groups!
Another great resource is DigitalMarketers. Their masterclass on Conversion Funnel Mastery goes in-depth on creating high-converting leads. It not only guides you through the process, but upon completion of the masterclass, you’ll also receive a certification from them. If you’re interested in this course, be sure to let us know : 8 Signal is a Certified Partner and Trainer with DigitalMarketers, so we can get you a discount!
And listen — we don’t want you to rush the decision of how you’re going to spend your marketing budget.
So, while you weigh your options, I want to encourage you to contact 8 Signal for more information on our strategic marketing approach. We’d love to give you an idea of the benefits that come with outsourcing your marketing strategy to a professional agency before committing to any costs.
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What is a good marketing budget? How much should you spend on marketing?
✓ Last checked and updated on 11 August 2023
When it comes to working out how much money you should be spending on your marketing activities, you could ask, how long is a piece of string? It can be difficult to simply pull a number out of the air and for that figure to be right.
But generally speaking most successful businesses use a few strategies to help them work out how much money to dedicate to their marketing .
Let’s take a look at some ways to decide on a workable budget to meet your needs. Firstly though, we should define what we mean by marketing budget – what exactly do we want to cover or include in the budget.
Your marketing budget should cover all costs needed to market your product or service, so that includes things like print advertising, promotions, demonstrations, exhibitions, public relations, social media, free product sampling or giveaways and costs to cover Google AdWords etc.
How to set a marketing budget
There is a general rule-of-thumb in the marketing world that you should aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing.
Marketing spend varies a lot by industry, so consider what your competitors might be spending.
Depending on your type of business, you should distribute your marketing budget according to necessary expenses.
Research marketing budget data to establish some benchmarks.
It’s important to calculate what sales you might earn from your marketing spend.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of mobile marketing.
Identify which channels are most suitable for your business model, your USP and your niche.
1. Use the 5% rule
There is a general rule-of-thumb in the marketing world that you should aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing. This 5% rule has been based on years of previous marketing experience and feedback from successful companies.
While at first glance this 5% rule doesn’t seem to be very generous, but when you break it down it is quite reasonable. This is because it should apply to most years, but not every year. Roughly 5% of your sales revenue should cover most of your regular ongoing marketing activities.
There may be times when you will need to spend more, such as in the early days of your company foundation when you need to invest in your day-to-day marketing activities.
Extra expenses will come from the initial set up your company website, buying software such as a good CRM package etc. and then you will need to spend a little more on upgrading your website every three to five years as technology moves on.
Creating your basic marketing foundation needs to be considered when first setting up as this includes:
- Creating your company brand
- Devising your content marketing strategy
- Website design and development
- Social media marketing
2. Consider marketing budgets by industry
Graph: marketing budgets by industry.
3. Consider marketing expenses by industry
Graph: marketing expenses by industry.
4. Look at key marketing budget statistics
In the ‘service consulting’ industry, the average marketing spend is 12% of turnover ( source )
69% of successful B2B marketers have a documented content strategy ( source )
The content marketing industry will be worth $412 billion by 2021 ( source )
9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions
84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions ( source )
80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement ( source )
78% of companies have a team of one-to-three content specialists ( source )
77% of companies say they have a content marketing strategy ( source )
Companies spend 46% of their marketing budget on content creation ( source )
Content marketing is a long-term game. Almost every campaign begins with a negative ROI overall, which should improve over time ( source )
There are many benefits that content marketing offers that are hard to quantify numerically. Brand perception is one of these advantages ( source )
5. Consider your marketing budget ROI
The old saying goes: You need to spend money to make money. However, while most companies will spend around 5% of their total revenue on their day to day marketing to maintain their position, they will up that amount to around 10% when they aim to grow and establish a greater market share of their niche.
A business should budget according to its tenure in the marketplace. So if your company sells multiple products or services, then you should allocate your advertising budget differently based on the status of each product or service you offer.
If you have well-established products or services, then you may only need to spend around 1% of their total sales on marketing them. But when launching a new product or service, you may be interested to know that other companies will spend 50% or more on marketing their new offerings until they become established.
6. Pay special attention to mobile marketing
While you need to first build a strong marketing foundation as mentioned above, don’t forget that as time moves on your focus must be targeted towards the ever-growing mobile marketplace.
You should allocate a large portion of your marketing budget towards mobile marketing and especially towards your best-performing channels. This could be your company website, blog, SMS messaging or social media accounts.
Building a dedicated app for your business is another important aspect of your overall marketing strategy that you need to consider. Building an app is a lot easier, quicker and cheaper today than it was just a few short years ago.
A dedicated business app will help you to:
- Create a fully customised user experience for your customers
- Have an always-visible marketing channel directly to your customers
- Offer easy access to your product catalogue
- A quick and easy payment platform
- Improve customer engagement with a low-distraction contact method
- Develop customer loyalty and trust through a convenient, quick and reliable shopping channel
7. Decide on your marketing channels
It is unlikely that every marketing channel you have will be right for your marketing efforts, but for those that are effective, it can make a massive difference for your company awareness, positive customer experience and satisfaction, and therefore sales.
With mobile traffic now overtaking desktop traffic, nearly all digital growth is now coming from mobile users. But this doesn’t mean you need to increase your marketing budget to cover more bases or abandon your efforts for your desk-bound devices.
It should be about striking a good balance between both channels and making your business more mobile-friendly. According to the Google Shopper Marketing Council , mobile shoppers spend more money, but 84% also use their smartphones while in-store to make informed purchasing decisions.
It can help you greatly to use services like Google Analytics to show you how your web traffic is divided between desktop and mobile. You can even get free plugins for your WordPress site, if you use one, to tell you this for free.
So, how much should you spend on marketing?
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, you can simply use the 5% rule as mentioned above as a broad blanket approach to cover your marketing needs to begin with, especially if you are starting from scratch, and then dig a little deeper to plan your budget as you move forward.
The way to calculate your 5% marketing budget is as follows:
- To maintain current brand awareness and visibility = total revenue x 5%
- To grow your market share = total revenue x 10%
However, the above calculation is a basic rule-of-thumb. You may need to adjust this up or down according to your business overheads and available funds left after expenses.
To dig a little deeper to form an accurate marketing budget, you should analyse the way your customers engage with you. Is this through a mobile-ready website, app, social media or mobile advertising etc.
Identify your most profitable marketing channels and then dedicate more of your marketing budget towards which channels are working the best for you.
Constantly monitor your customer analytics. Look for weaknesses and remedy them. This could be by dedicating extra funding to fixing them or by restructuring your marketing funnel for example. If you spot any weaknesses you should limit your everyday marketing activities until you have resolved your issues.
Never let yourself become complacent. Be prepared to consistently test, rinse, repeat and optimise your results. By doing this you can keep your marketing budget under control and create a better ROI for your spending .
Marketing budgets FAQ
The general rule of thumb is to spend 5% of your business turnover on marketing. But this varies significantly by sector and by the marketing strategy set out by the company. Some businesses spend more than 20% of their revenue on marketing if they are trying to make fast entry into their market.
This depends on how small the business is, and the resource they have available. For example one person starting their first business from home might opt to do their marketing themselves via social media, and spend nothing. Another small business might have secured venture capital funding and be spending millions of pounds.
When marketing is done effectively, the return on investment is proven an undeniable. As long as you get your marketing right, the resulting sales from new customers will be higher than what you spent. This is why marketing usually forms a key aspect of a business plan: it’s essential for business growth.
Usually around 5% of sales turnover, but up to 20% or more of revenue for ambitious startups that are focused on high growth and fast market entry.
In very basic terms, a business can evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing based on a simple calculation, to work out how much sales revenue has been generated as a percentage of what was spent on marketing. As long as the new revenue is higher than the spend, you could say that the marketing was effective. But there are levels of success, as it’s usually possible to improve marketing ROI by refining the strategy and execution.
Marketing spend is most commonly calculated as a percentage of sales revenue. An effective business plan should indicate how sales income will be distributed between things like operations, sales, marketing, and product development.
A marketing budget is the money set aside to be spent on marketing for a company. Marketing usually involves a number of channels including social media marketing, PPC advertising, email marketing, and sponorships. Sometimes it also includes more traditional channels such as TV or radio advertisements.
See our guide to digital marketing strategy to help you get started with planning your marketing budget.
A marketing budget usually runs for 12-24 months and gives details of the channels to be used, and the corresponding spend on marketing campaigns. This is usually tied to a forecast of sales revenue.
There’s no set figure in pounds or dollars for this, because it depends drastically on the size of the company. For one business, spending £1,000 on marketing over 12 months might seem like a huge figure. For another business, it might be common to spend more than £1,000 per day.
5%. There’s no hard and fast rule here, but traditionally a good place for a company to begin is to spent around 5% of their sales income on marketing.
There are usually two main costs for social media marketing: the cost of the advertisements or content creation for the campaigns, and the fee for hiring a social media management company to plan and execute the campaigns for you.
How long is a piece of string? The scale and format of marketing campaigns can vary significantly, and might start at less than £100 for a one-person business, to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds for a bigger business. This is analogous to buying a car: you might get something simple and old for less than £1,000, or you might spend six figures on a high end sports car.
If you use a product such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo for your email marketing, the cost will depend on the number of subscribers that you need to store data for. Mailchimp has a free package to get you started, if your list isn’t too big.
You can recruit a marketing team internally within your business, and the ongoing costs would be the salaries; or you can commission an external marketing company to provide this service as your marketing partner. This second option is often popular because there’s less commitment (you can fire or change your marketing agency easily), and it also doesn’t require you to develop a new specialist skillset within your business.
Hiring a marketing consultant can vary from £100 a day to more than £1500 a day, depending on the scope of the work and the expertise of the consultant. See our guide to marketing consultants here .
Influencer marketing costs anything from £500 to more than £10,000. There are a number of variables when hiring an influencer for marketing: whether you hire them directly or via an agent; the amount of work you’re asking them to do; the size of the following that the influencer has; and whether you’re asking them to commit to any kind of exclusivity with your business.
Marketing costs whatever you are able and willing to spend! If you’re a one-man-band starting your first small business from home, you might want to begin by doing things like social media marketing for free by yourself. At the other end of the spectrum, large corporations spend millions of pounds a year on marketing.
If you want to hire an SEO agency, you can expect to pay in the region of £1000 to £5000 a month. See our guides to SEO services and SEO packages .
A marketing strategy can cost from £1,000 to more than £10,000 for planning, depending on the scope of work and size of business. If you’d like help with marketing strategy for your business, contact us to discuss in more detail.
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Example of a Full Digital Marketing Plan and Budget
Krista Moon 30 Comments
Most business and marketing leaders know they need to include digital marketing as part of their business growth plans: things like blogging, email marketing, social media, paid advertising, and website development. They’re often already doing bits and pieces of it, depending on the skills, resources, and budget they have available to get the work done. However, gaps in the strategy can cause a disjointed approach that detracts from the potential return on investment.
The most effective approach is consistent and holistic. Here is an example of an integrated digital marketing plan designed to consistently increase awareness, build a following, generate leads, and help salespeople meet their goals. I also included an example of how much it would cost and how to create a realistic budget for your organization. Check it out, and if you have feedback or want to share some of your digital marketing successes, please comment below.
“The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.” ~ Leonard I. Sweet
The Goals Dictate the Plan
Digital marketing plans are based on each company’s unique goals and objectives. What you’re selling and who you’re selling to dictate the activities required to get good results. In the following digital marketing plan, the example company has three goals they want to accomplish:
- Have More Sales Meetings: have more conversations with target buyers starting to look for a solution.
- Create a larger sales pipeline: advance the sale by converting more conversations into sales opportunities.
- And close more deals faster: help prospective customers overcome objections and make a buying decision.
Metrics and accountability standards for your goals are essential, so you have a clear vision of success. The success metrics for our example company are to:
- Increase new sales conversations from 10 to 50 and new leads from 3 to 15.
- Increase the sales pipeline from $5M to $10M
- Increase new deals per month from 1 to 3 and shorten the sales cycle from 90 to 60 days
The company will use digital marketing tactics to accomplish its goals with a strong focus on digital content. The content will be dually used for marketing to increase awareness and engagement, and sales to build relationships and guide buyers’ decision-making process, resulting in net new customers.
Let’s jump into the plan details, including the associated budget and resources required to get the work done.
Here is a graphic representation of the plan. Right-click to save.
Requirements for Successful Implementation
A plan is only good as your ability to execute it. There are three requirements for successful implementation:
- A strong foundation and tech stack : For example, you can’t do social media if you don’t have social media profiles, and you can’t send emails if you have a bad list. And there are thousands of marketing platforms and tools, so while choosing is challenging, it's critical to your success. Remember that the more technology you have the more expensive and complex your system, so try to consolidate it into the least number of tools possible . That's why HubSpot is a good choice because it has everything you need in one platform to get the work done efficiently and productively.
- Skilled people : One person can’t do it all. It would be difficult - if not impossible - to find someone that excels in everything: data analysis, strategic planning, project management, content writing, SEO, graphic design, email marketing, database administration, sales, website design, development, and coding. Make sure you have knowledgeable, skilled people to fill those roles.
- Money and Time : The plan requires technology, resources, and people to get the work done. Everything costs money and takes time - is it worth it? I won’t bore you with the ROI equation right now, but when it comes down to it, it’s mathematics. How much do you need to sell to make a profitable return on your investment?
Projected Marketing Budget
Speaking of money, you’re probably wondering how much the example plan costs. Most agencies charge between $125-$250 per hour. The projected budget to accomplish everything on the list would be $175K - $250K per year, including people, technology, and ad spend.
On average, companies spend between 7-11% of total company revenue on marketing. That means a company with about $1.6M annual revenue should be able to afford a comprehensive plan like this.
Cost Reduction Strategies
1. Do Less Marketing
If you’re a $500K company, your investment level might be more around $60K. But - there are ways to scale back if you’re a small business and can’t afford to do all that marketing. You can reduce the number of blogs, emails, social media posts, and content offers you’re putting out or otherwise do less marketing. You can still have the same agenda; it just might take longer to accomplish it.
2. Get Everyone Involved!
Or, you can hire a specialist to train your internal team on various activities and spread the workload across many people. Here are two of the best ways to reduce marketing costs and create a better customer experience at the same time, but it requires a culture shift:
- Everybody blogs : Train as many people in your organization to blog as possible . That way, you write about the entire customer experience, become trusted industry thought leaders, and have a steady flow of articles from multiple points of view. Customers and prospects will know where to go when they have questions or need help. And the more people involved, the less each person has to do.
- Everybody gets social : Create an organization-wide social media strategy. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, policies, and expectations. You know what they say: Many hands make light work.
The expectation is not that everyone will be an expert blogger or social media guru. You’ll still need a leader to oversee the strategy and operations, manage the projects, coach, teach, train, and maintain value and quality control. But if people within the organization can share their industry knowledge, expertise, and insights, it makes it easier and faster for marketers to keep pushing good content to your target audience.
Your digital presence is akin to your physical store. It’s a place where customers will “walk in” and learn about you and see what you have to offer. It’s the first place the majority of your customers will find you. And if you don’t have a physical store, it’s the ONLY place people will find you! That’s why it’s so important to invest in a digital presence that is easy to find, informative, useful, and simple to use.
That said, knowing how to invest your digital marketing dollars can be challenging. There are so many things you could do; it can be overwhelming. To create a realistic digital marketing plan and budget, take a step back to look at what you have done in the past, what’s working and not working, and look for opportunities for growth. Good data and analysis will help ensure you spend money in areas with the highest return on investment for your organization.
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How Much Does a Marketing Plan Cost? [2nd Edition]
Leah Hoppes | Posted on September 19, 2015 |
The cost of a marketing plan developed by a seasoned marketing strategist will vary depending on the nature of your business. A simple company structure led by an entrepreneur is very different for a marketing company to navigate versus herding multiple decision makers in a complex corporate structure. Most marketing consultants price according to both their time involved and the level of detail they will deliver.
One of the first things to understand in looking at how much a marketing plan will cost is what the marketing plan actually entails. The very nature of a marketing plan implies that it is customized for your business, just as having a business plan implies it is specifically created for your company. You certainly wouldn’t take someone else’s business plan to the bank and expect to receive financing and you wouldn’t dream of handing a generic checklist of business initiatives to your banker and expect a favorable response. You may balk at the absurdity of the idea of anyone thinking they can pass off a generic checklist as a business plan in order to obtain working capital, but I tell you this because I have come across marketing companies out there who are selling “marketing plans” which are quite literally generic checklists.
So, just how much money do you have to pony up for a customized marketing plan ? Depending on variables such, as the size and complexity of your company and what the specific deliverable will be that the marketing consultants provide, you can expect to invest between $10,000 and $40,000. Some marketing plans are as long a business plan complete with a competitive analysis and a product gap analysis; those types of Marketing Plans are going to run you at the top of the price range, and quite possibly beyond. If you just need a marketing plan which covers fundamentals such as message, market segments, channels to market, ideal clients and a full year of tactics to support your overall objective – that sort of plan is going to be at the lower end of the price range.
The most important thing to consider when looking at a marketing consultant or marketing company to develop your marketing plan is to ask specifically about the deliverable. What does it entail? How many meetings will it take to develop the plan? We learned one marketing company charged a business owner a temptingly affordable $1,800 for a Marketing Plan, only to deliver a generic checklist – all of which the business owner had already done. You shouldn’t be paying anyone for a checklist which is the same thing they handed to the last client. That type of document should be a free download on a website, it is not a marketing plan.
If it doesn’t start with a strategy session – it is not a marketing strategy. If it isn’t customized for your particular company – it is not a marketing plan.
The cost of a marketing plan shouldn’t be looked at as an expense as much as it should be viewed as an investment in your company because it isn’t something you do only once. You will want to create a new marketing plan every year. Once you’ve gone through the process with a marketing consultant, you’ll know what needs to be done and may find you can do it on your own after the first year.
So, bottom line – don’t let how much a marketing plan cost deter you from hiring someone to help you. Without it, you’ll waste far more than you spend on your consultant by putting the wrong message in front of the wrong audience on the wrong platforms and blowing through your marketing budget because you don’t understand the right sequence and process to market on social media.
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