The answer is, “As soon as possible.” In a blog written by Neal Lappe titled “How much should you spend for Marketing in 2016?” the projected expenditure for digital marketing should range from 4.5% of gross revenue to 9.3%. If you’re in a growing or start-up business, those numbers could be as high as 18%.
Branding a new business when you include ad-buy, content creation and PR, can easily double marketing cost, but the payback can be big. And the goal should be to increase market share whether in a local township or a national scope. The better market share you have the better position to reign back on marketing expenditures for a while. Market share means recognizability, which helps sales and revenues increase. As a new business, that should be the focus. (See Harvard Business Review, “Market Share – A Key to Profitability”)
When we bring on a client, we do a lot of research on competitor's, site analysis, sometimes a site rebuild, we help you identify the ideal client profile, and we come up with a plan that fits into your budget. Starting small is not a bad idea. The bigger the expected results, the more of an investment, of course. We also set up a CRM system (customer resource management system) that gives you insight into the client’s position in the sales funnel, what tasks are expected to move them into the next stage, and we help you understand the cost of an acquired customer. Customer acquisition cost is what will determine the money you are paying for each customer in each campaign. This can be a wonderful tool to help you understand where best to put your time and money.
The results of campaigns are shown on your own analytics dashboard, and that gives you the transparency that you’ll need. The numbers don’t lie.
a) You can learn all the skills and do it yourself. In the beginning, that might be the best answer if funds are tight and an investment into marketing is not possible. We will provide as much education as we can to get you going, and when the time comes that you need to focus on your core competency or sales and running your business, we’ll be here ready to help.
b) You can hire a digital marketing employee in house. That will eventually lead to an understanding that one person cannot do all things in marketing. Soon you’ll have a very expensive department that you’ll be able to control, but the time involved, expense, and gamble that you’ll need to make for new hires will be challenging. (see Our Skills page for an idea of knowledge base that goes into a digital marketing campaign) If you eventually get to a point where creating a $300k bare-bones marketing department, then you’ll already have had a great deal of success, and it will be the time to make that move.
c) Hire a marketing agency. A marketing agency wins when you win. If you aren’t happy with the results, then you don’t need to continue the relationship. It’s typically a fraction of the cost of hiring an internal staff and much, much less time consuming. An agency has resources that they can pull from if they don’t have the skills already at hand, and the skills of each individual have been fine tuned to be effective and produce results. Results are our lifeblood. Even very large companies outsource to agencies to lend their professional advice and assistance in creating effective campaigns. It allows them to trim costs and allows them to focus where they need to focus.