1Working as a consultant with mainly small businesses and individuals, my clients marketing budgets are always very tight and people want a lot for their money.  Like any other service related business, marketing costs are sometimes difficult to justify or determine.  Much like the building industry for instance… you never know what is behind the walls you are fixing until you start knocking it down and may discover all sorts of issues.

When the marketing task in hand is fairly simple like organise an event or set up a new website, promote a new product, marketing costs can be easier to quote. When clients want you to manage their existing online profile or provide a PR or marketing strategy to their already established business, this can prove a little more tricky as I mentioned before, you need to know what is behind their walls or in marketing terms, what their current marketing history is like to determine an appropriate strategy and costs.

So my advice when budgeting for your Small Business Marketing is;

  1. Set clear goals/objectives on what you want your marketer to achieve and how you want it to profit your business. Be specific, for instance; ‘I want to launch a new product and generate sales for this product.’ Your Marketer should provide you with a clear strategy on how to do this and what communication channels to use, like an e-mail campaign using a database generated from your website and social media channels.
  2. Make sure your objectives are achievable and reasonable based on research or past campaigns. Your marketer should be able to advise you on this.  Don’t expect too much, remember marketing is about finding new ways to communicate with your target market.  It won’t sell a dead horse to a jockey, in other words if your product or business is failing it may be that you need to spend your efforts elsewhere, i.e on new product development, packaging, logistics, costs…
  3. Make sure that together you set timelines for your marketing objectives. Get regular updates to see whether these objectives are achievable within the timeframe. Whether it be a 3 month, 1 year or 5 year marketing plan.
  4. Agree on your budget from the start whether it be an hourly rate or fixed amount. If you have been quoted a fixed amount, ask for an explanation or breakdown of fees.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the marketing process or about the marketing efforts or data presented by your marketer. A good marketer should be able to develop a marketing strategy based on the client’s objectives and provide clear and regular updates.
  6. Lastly, don’t lose focus on what you or your business represents, your marketing adviser should complement your business and your company values and not take you away from the core of your business and your customers. If you are a small company that is all about personal service, then don’t spend money on mass communication channels that will compromise customer service and product quality.