Steps to developing an optimal marketing budget
local seo optimisation
by Karen McNulty

As marketers, we’ve all had to have the dreaded talk about marketing budget. Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business, but it can be challenging to determine how much money should be allocated to it. Creating a marketing budget is essential for ensuring that you use your resources effectively and get the most return on your investment.

What is a marketing budget?

A with all things in marketing. A budget needs a plan. A marketing budget is a plan that outlines how much money a company will spend on marketing activities within a specific period. The purpose of a marketing budget is to ensure that a business allocates its marketing resources efficiently and effectively. It helps a company to plan and execute marketing campaigns in a structured and organised manner, keeping in mind the available resources and desired outcomes. 

A marketing budget may cover various marketing activities, such as advertising, sales promotions, public relations, events, social media, and other communication and outreach efforts. By creating a marketing budget, businesses can measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and make informed decisions about how to allocate resources in the future.

How to create a marketing budget

Step 1: Determine your business goals

The first step in creating a marketing budget is to identify your business goals. What do you want to achieve through your marketing efforts? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive sales, or build customer loyalty? Once you have identified your goals, you can determine what kind of marketing activities will help you achieve them.

Step 2: Identify your target audience

Knowing your target audience is crucial for developing an effective marketing plan. Who are your ideal customers, and what are their needs and preferences? Understanding your audience will help you create marketing messages that resonate with them and choose the right marketing channels to reach them.

Step 3: Choose your marketing channels

There are many marketing channels to choose from, including social media, email marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing, and traditional advertising. Consider which channels are most effective for reaching your target audience and achieving your business goals.

Step 4: Estimate your costs

Once you have identified your marketing channels, you can estimate the costs associated with each. Consider the cost of producing content, running ads, hiring staff, and any other expenses related to your marketing efforts. Be sure to budget for ongoing costs as well, such as website maintenance and social media management.

Step 5: Allocate your budget

Based on your estimated costs, allocate your marketing budget across the different channels you have chosen. Consider which channels are most effective for achieving your goals and focus your resources on those areas. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust your budget as you gather more data on what works and what doesn’t.

Step 6: Monitor your results

Once you have implemented your marketing plan, it’s essential to track your results and adjust your budget accordingly. Use analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and make changes as needed. Continuously evaluate your marketing efforts and adjust your budget to ensure you are getting the most return on your investment.

Formulas to determine a marketing budget

There are several formulas you can use to determine your marketing budget. Here are three commonly used formulas:

Percentage of revenue: This is the most straightforward method for determining a marketing budget. Simply decide on a percentage of your annual revenue to allocate to marketing. Many businesses allocate between 5-10% of their total revenue to marketing, although the amount can vary depending on the industry and specific business goals.

Industry benchmarks: Research the average marketing spend for businesses in your industry to get an idea of what you should be spending. This can help you determine if your marketing budget is in line with industry standards, or if you need to adjust your spending.

Goal-based budgeting: This method involves setting specific marketing goals and then allocating resources based on what it will take to achieve those goals. For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 20%, you can determine how much you need to spend on search engine optimisation, pay-per-click advertising, and other tactics to reach that goal.

Ultimately, the right formula for your business will depend on your goals, resources, and the stage of your business. Experiment with different formulas and adjust your budget over time to optimise your marketing spend.

Creating a marketing budget can be a challenging task, but it’s an essential step in ensuring that your marketing efforts are effective and efficient. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a budget that is tailored to your specific business goals, resources, and audience. Remember to review your budget regularly and adjust it as necessary to ensure that you are getting the most out of your marketing spend. 

Reach out to Media Matters for a solid marketing plan that will set you on your way to achieving your business goals and standing out in a crowded market.

FAQs about Marketing Budget

Q: How much should I budget for marketing?

A: The amount you should budget for marketing depends on the size of your business, the industry you’re in, and your specific goals. As a general rule, most small businesses allocate 7-8% of their gross revenue to marketing. However, if you’re just starting out or have limited resources, you may need to allocate a higher percentage for a larger push to get your name out there.

Q: How do I know which marketing channels to use?

A: The marketing channels you should use will depend on your target audience, the goals you want to achieve, and the type of content you want to produce. Consider your audience’s preferred channels, where they spend their time, and what kind of content they engage with the most. Experiment with different channels to see which ones work best for you.

Q: How often should I adjust my marketing budget?

A: You should adjust your marketing budget on a regular basis, depending on the results you are seeing. If a particular channel is not delivering results, you may need to reduce your spending on that channel and allocate more resources to others that are performing better. Keep a close eye on your analytics and make adjustments as needed to optimise your return on investment.

Q: What if I don’t have a lot of money to allocate to marketing?

A: Even if you have limited resources, you can still create a marketing budget that works for you. Consider focusing on low-cost or no-cost marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, and content marketing. Leverage free resources, such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and local business directories, to get your business in front of potential customers.

Q: Do I need to hire a marketing agency to create a marketing budget?

A: While it can be helpful to work with a marketing agency to create a marketing budget, it is not always necessary. If you have a good understanding of your business goals, target audience, and marketing channels, you can create a budget on your own. However, if you are unsure about where to start or how to allocate your resources, a marketing agency can provide valuable guidance and expertise.

The Author

Karen McNulty

Karen was responsible for single-handedly transforming MM into a fully digital marketing agency, back in the day. Her strengths lie in everything digital, as well as planning and strategy. Together with Dawn, she is responsible for our smooth-running ship. She has bags of knowledge and experience across a range of disciplines, industries and verticals which makes her invaluable as we look to continue to grow the business and onboard new clients. Karen’s passion is technology, new innovations and trends around digital transformation, digital marketing and cloud computing.
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