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How much should I be spending on marketing?

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Carolyn Henderson's avatar
Carolyn Henderson

Fact: in a crowded online landscape where the digital footprint of a business can make or break its success, understanding the gravity of marketing investment is more crucial than ever. For businesses of all sizes, navigating the complexities of marketing budgets can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re taking some time to demystify the process, offering insights into what constitutes an appropriate marketing investment and how it aligns with your business objectives.

Marketing Spend: Why the Hesitancy?

When it comes to allocating funds for marketing, many businesses, irrespective of their size and industry, encounter a common roadblock – hesitation, and we get it. This hesitancy often stems from a blend of uncertainty, past experiences and the intangible nature of some marketing outcomes.

The challenge of measuring ROI:
One of the primary reasons for hesitation is the perceived difficulty in measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) of marketing activities. Unlike direct sales or production, where inputs and outputs can be more straightforwardly quantified, the impact of marketing efforts is often less immediately visible and more complex to gauge. For instance, how does one measure the brand awareness generated by a social media campaign, or the long-term customer loyalty built through consistent content marketing? This uncertainty can make businesses wary of investing heavily in marketing efforts.

Past experiences and misconceptions:
Many businesses have dabbled in marketing with varying degrees of success. Some may have had negative experiences where substantial investments did not yield the expected results, leading to a scepticism of marketing’s effectiveness. Others might have misconceptions about marketing, viewing it as a cost rather than an investment. This perception is particularly prevalent in industries where marketing is not seen as a traditional part of business operations.

The intangible nature of marketing results:
Marketing often involves building brand value, shaping consumer perceptions and nurturing customer relationships. These outcomes, while crucial for long-term success, are intangible and not immediately convertible into sales or revenue figures. This intangibility can be disconcerting for decision-makers who are accustomed to seeing direct, tangible returns on their investments.

Budget allocation & prioritisation:
Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), budget constraints play a significant role in marketing hesitancy. With limited resources, businesses often have to prioritise immediate operational costs and revenue-generating activities over marketing. This is compounded by the fact that the benefits of marketing spend are typically realised over the long term, making it a challenging proposition for businesses operating with a short-term perspective.

If the above concerns apply to you, you’re not alone. Understanding these factors is the first step in addressing the hesitancy surrounding marketing investments. It requires a shift in perspective – from viewing marketing as a cost to seeing it as a vital investment in your company’s future.

Industry Benchmarks for Marketing Investments

Coins with a bullseye target

A practical way to approach marketing investment is to consider industry benchmarks. Across North America and Europe, businesses in the B2B (Business-to-Business) sector typically allocate about 1.5 to 2.5% of their annual forecasted revenue to marketing. This figure can stretch up to 3.5% or even 5% in scenarios where aggressive growth is the goal.

On the other hand, the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) landscape paints a different picture. Here, the stakes are higher due to the direct interaction with end consumers. Therefore, it’s common for B2C companies to earmark around 5 to 7% of their projected annual revenue for marketing efforts.

B2B vs. B2C Marketing: Understanding the Differences

The distinction between B2B and B2C marketing strategies is crucial in understanding these investment figures. B2B marketing often revolves around building long-term relationships and involves a more targeted approach. The focus is on demonstrating value, building credibility and nurturing leads through a longer sales cycle.

Conversely, B2C marketing is about creating an immediate connection with the consumer. It’s fast-paced, emotionally driven and aims to reach a broader audience. The strategies here often leverage brand storytelling, instant gratification and aspirational messaging to influence purchasing decisions.

Our Approach to Marketing Investments

At Creative Media, we understand that every penny you invest in marketing should contribute to your business’s growth. That’s why we emphasise budget transparency and ROI reporting. Our approach ensures that you are not just aware of where your money is going but also how it’s working for you.

We specialise in crafting marketing strategies that align with your business goals, whether you’re a B2B company looking to establish deep industry connections or a B2C brand aiming to make a splash in the consumer market. Our team focuses on creating a marketing blueprint that is not only reflective of your budget but is also geared towards delivering measurable, tangible growth.

An Invitation to Growth-Conscious Companies

If you’re a growth-conscious company seeking to make informed, impactful marketing investments, we invite you to connect with us at Creative Media. Let’s collaborate to create a marketing strategy that not only fits your budget but also amplifies your market presence and drives your business forward. Book a free consultation with Marcus Isherwood to get started.