A CEO’s Guide to Why Marketing Costs More Than You Think

Effective marketing requires a strategic planning process and the use of multiple complementary tactics. This costs more than you might think.

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You pay for what you get. It’s a cliché, sure, but for good reason. The better the product or service, the more you are going to pay. This applies to marketing as much as anything else.

Cheap options for marketing are out there, but just like cheap shoes or cheap cars that constantly need replacing and repairing, they will only end up costing you more in the long run. They can harm your reputation with subpar content, or just take too long for you to see results, wasting your money. Cheap marketing is cheap for a reason!

Marketing is half art, half science, and it is tough to do well. That is why good marketing costs more than you think. However, it is one of the best investments you could make for your business. For B2B companies, marketing should typically produce about 40% of revenue sources. Why cut corners on your marketing budget and risk such a big slice of your revenue pie?

This guide will take you through why good marketing costs more than you think, and why investing in great marketing is foundational for your business’s growth and revenue goals.

Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Marketing doesn’t become effective by only focusing on a single tactic. It becomes effective through a multi-pronged approach that utilizes a wide variety of complementary tactics. Great marketing requires expert knowledge in content creation, SEO, web development, email marketing, social media, and so much more.

Whether you rely on an in-house marketing team, independent contractors, or a marketing agency, the skills, time, and expertise necessary to build a comprehensive and effective marketing plan comes at a cost. Contractors can provide great work, but will often only have expertise in one or two marketing approaches, and perhaps unable to provide a truly holistic, integrated marketing plan. A full-service marketing agency may cost a little more than a contractor, but they offer comprehensive expertise and experience, so you’ll get more in strategic marketing.

Whatever approach you take, quality work is always going to cost more. But investing in great marketing up front can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Great Marketing is Strategic

It’s tempting to just jump right into blog writing and creating social media profiles on every channel you can find. Without a solid strategic plan in place, however, you might just be wasting your time and energy on tactics that won’t attract the right audience at the right time or in the right place.

Before you start implementing tactics, you should spend weeks, or even months, on strategy. This means auditing your current efforts to determine your weaknesses and strengths, reviewing what the competition is doing, determining your goals, and laying out your plan. Being intentional about your marketing strategy will allow you to better understand and utilize your company’s resources, implement new tactics, and produce high quality content. Taking your marketing strategy seriously early on is what will set you up for long term success.

Another key part of being strategic is investing in ongoing reporting and analytics. Reporting and analytics are pieces of the marketing puzzle that will require an investment of time, knowledge, and money, but it will help your marketing become more successful over time. As marketing efforts become increasingly digital, having strong reporting and analytics capabilities will continue to become even more important.

Determining the best marketing tactics based on your business goals and budget is not quick or easy. It can take years to develop the experience needed to effectively manage a paid media budget, develop an SEO strategy, optimize messaging for your audience, and turn analytics and reporting into actionable insights that generate revenue.

Half-Baked Marketing Won’t Get You Anywhere

You can’t just “be” on social media and never post. You won’t see results from content marketing if you don’t take the time to conduct keyword research and implement SEO best practices. Your website content won’t do much to persuade web visitors to buy if you never conducted market research to learn about your ideal customers. Quickly throwing up a website without putting effort into technical SEO, branding, and customer journeys will do more harm than good.

Going halfway with your marketing strategy won’t get you anywhere. You need to commit to doing things right, and that requires a decent budget, skills, and time. You should expect your marketing budget to be 5-12 percent of your total revenue, which may include internal staffing, investment in marketing agencies, paid media, and more.

It Takes Time

Digital marketing is not about quick fixes and quick results. Marketing costs more than you think because you need to invest in it over a long period of time. It takes time to rise up Google’s search engine rankings and for your website to see some traction. It takes time to gain a following on social media. 

It also takes time for your prospective clients to develop enough familiarity and trust with your brand to take them to the buying decision. Don’t expect to get a sale off of one email or one ad. In fact, it typically takes 6-8 “touchpoints” before clients reach the buying stage. They are expecting to see engaging social posts, authoritative blogs, well-designed websites, and emails that are content-rich. They don’t want spammy sales pitches that go right to the trash bin. 

Effective marketing is just like dating. You want to trickle out information, not dictate your entire life story over dinner. Clients expect to be engaged, to be involved in a give and take conversation. It is a marketing strategy that takes time, money, and a lot of expertise, but it is key in building the trust and rapport needed to turn prospects into clients.

So, How Much Should You Spend on Marketing?

It depends on your goals and your budget. New startups, medium sized businesses, and international operations will all have unique situations and opportunities, and each require a mix of tactics and implementation that is unique to them.

When you work with GreenLit Marketing, we make sure to offer recommendations that will have the greatest impact for the lowest dollar amount to help you get the most out of your efforts and budget.

We’ll build your marketing strategy. Click the button below to book a consultation.


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