How Much Should Your Marketing Budget Be To Deliver The Ideal ROI?

There are a number of ways to look at a marketing budget and its size, because there is no single way, no one-size-fits all. These market survey results act as a very useful guideline, so business owners and their CMO’s can see what other businesses like theirs are doing, and whether they should simply follow suit or use the stats as one of the factors to take into account when setting and reviewing their own marketing budget.

Every company sets a budget. Successful ones set the right budget in terms of dollars to spend, spend those dollars in the right areas, and they review the spend to make sure they continue to get the right ROI.

It is always valuable to remember that a company’s marketing budget is there for one primary purpose: to deliver that ROI. To that end, businesses should look on their marketing budget more as “business fuel”, than as simply “brand illumination”.


Survey Results

The Marketing Budgets Report 2016 by Econsultancy, and the Forrester report: US Digital Forecast 2014 – 2019 both made some simple and powerful statements:

1. Every year since 2011, 85% of the survey respondents said that their marketing budgets have either stayed the same or have increased.

2. In 2016 an average 30% of respondents’ marketing budgets went to online marketing.

3. Social media expenditure will grow in dollar amount.

4. 59.7% of recipients plan to increase their email marketing spend.

5. 56.3% plan to increase their social media spend.

6. 55.9% plan to increase their online display ad spend.

7. 51.9% plan to make mobile marketing an integral part of their online projects.

8. 16.3% will increase marketing spend on trade shows, etc, compared to 12.9% who said they will reduce spend in that area.

9. 13.6% will increase print advertising spend compared to 23.4% who will reduce print marketing spend.

How Can I Use These Stats in My Business?

They give you a steer for your own marketing expenditure. They should, however, also be put into another context. If that is how survey participants will allocate marketing budget, how big is the budget to begin with? The survey did show that total marketing budgets ranged from 7% to 12% of turnover.


Individual responses varied according to such factors as:

1. The size of the business. Smaller and newer businesses spent a higher proportion of turnover on marketing than larger and well-established businesses.

2. The line of business (B2B, B2C, product-oriented, service-oriented, etc) with B2C’s generally spending a higher percentage than B2B’s.

3.  The individual market’s degree of competitiveness, in which the survey respondent operates.

4. Their customers’ behavior as they proceed through the buying funnel (Attraction, Interest, Involvement, Conversion, 1st Purchase, Repeat Purchases, Referrals, etc.)


The answer to the original question How Much Should Your Marketing Budget Be?  is “It depends on your business’s size, age, current market position, and future goals.” But this can help you with a bit of clear insight into your competitors’ marketing budgets and how they allocate their marketing dollars. Use the stats, relate them to your own business, and you will know whether your budget will deliver the results you want – and will keep on delivering them as your market, and your business’s position in it change.