Startup Marketing Budget: How To Create And Calculate One

A marketing budget for start ups is critical for your business to be successful. But how do you create one? How much cash should be devoted to marketing? And where should you spend it? You’ve got an idea that you think will revolutionize the world. You’ve got a team that’s 100% committed to seeing it through. You’re confident that your product is terrific, and people will love it.

But to get them to your product, you need marketing. One of the most important aspects of a new company or business’s success is having a clear marketing budget. This article will provide strategies to understand what startups spend on marketing to hit their business goals.

What is the Average Marketing Budget For Startups?

Typically, companies spend 8–10% of their overall marketing expenses on advertising their goods and services. Startups, however, must spend more.

A recent study found that startups typically spend 11.2% of their revenue on promotion. However, marketing budgets are difficult to estimate because there are many variables. Instead, it is crucial to understand the different variables that come into play when budgeting.

When determining marketing budgets for a startup, the amount you invest will hinge on your business’s unique marketing needs and your solution.

Average B2B Startup Marketing Budget

Even though the average B2B marketing budget ranges from 5 to 12% of gross revenue, the amount you should spend on marketing your B2B business will entirely depend on where your organization is currently developing.

Across all industries, B2B companies devote 11.3% of their budget to marketing.

Digital marketing expenditures for B2B firms have increased by over 11%, outpacing those for more conventional forms of marketing like print advertisements.

With an average spend of $185K in 2020, Many B2B organizations place a lot of emphasis on content.

Average SaaS Marketing Budget

On average, a SaaS business invests 15% to 25% of its gross revenue in marketing. Businesses that spend less on marketing are disadvantaged since most SaaS companies dedicate significant revenue to this area.

The likelihood of higher growth rates is greater for SaaS businesses that invest more in marketing. But the precise amount may differ. Thus this should only be considered an estimate.

Save Money: Get a Fractional CMO

While businesses that spend more on marketing have a higher chance of success, spending more only sometimes equals better results.

Fractional CMOs are the latest trend that allows you to hire a CMO for just a tiny percentage of the hiring fee of a full-time position. Hiring a fractional CMO can help you manage and train your already-existing marketing team, implement your marketing strategy, boost your marketing efforts, and save thousands of dollars annually.

ROAR CMO offers comprehensive marketing services that help small and midsize businesses promote their brand and scale fast. Our team of proficient fractional CMOs uses a high-velocity growth blueprint designed to help clients get the best possible result out of their marketing process while saving money.


How to Determine Your Startup Marketing Budget

Getting your startup off the ground is hard work — there’s a lot to do and hardly enough time to do it all. As a result, you may be struggling with how to spend your marketing budget. Sure, you could throw money at it and hope for the best, but that’s not a surefire way to get ahead.

Fortunately, some great marketing tactics are both cost-effective and practical. Below are some variables for your marketing budget that startup companies should examine to help them make the best budgeting decision:

Know Your Marketing Goals

Knowing your marketing goals will help you make a realistic budget that will increase the possibility of attaining those goals. Typically, every startup’s marketing goals include growing its lead pool, raising brand awareness, generating more subscribers, and increasing revenue.

When creating a marketing budget, It is best to be as detailed as possible to gauge your success. For instance, what percentage do you want to raise sales in the coming year? You can make the best marketing investments when you are clear on your objectives.

How Old is Your Startup?

If your business is well-established and has been operating for some time, you may spend less of your annual revenue on marketing to achieve success and hold onto your position. However, newer businesses that want to increase brand recognition need to consider allocating a more significant portion of their budget to marketing, particularly if they’re up against competitors who have been around for a while.

What is Your Average Annual Income?

Knowing your expected or average annual revenue is crucial before you explore marketing expenditures because you cannot spend what you do not have. For startups without revenue, how much do you need to spend from your savings, fundraising, or other sources?

Once you are sure of your average annual income, it becomes easier to calculate the portion of your revenue that will go toward marketing.

Calculate your Expenses: Salaries, Subscriptions, Tools

Before you start a business, one of the most important things you can do is calculate your marketing spend. You can’t know what to expect without this information, which is why we’ve put together this quick overview of all the different things that go into your marketing budget.

Employee Salaries

The absence of a marketing team makes marketing difficult. Your marketing team can initially consist of just one or two ardent individuals, including the CEO or other c-suite executives. In any case, you will need to consider the salaries for every member of the marketing department.

It would be best if you planned for additional personnel and services you might need to pay for in addition to salaries. You can engage with agencies or freelancers for content marketing (particularly blog entries and SEO), social media management, PR assistance, and any other jobs that don’t require full-time staff.

Marketing Tools and Subscriptions

When calculating your marketing expenses, you should consider software for webinars and demos, Dropbox memberships, social media management programs, email marketing services like Mailchimp, and more. It will help if you stay current with these rolling subscriptions.

A few areas frequently take the lead when considering outgoing marketing expenses, like marketing automation tools. Automation tools record every lead, potential client engagement, and page view for easy performance analysis.

Expenses for Specific Marketing Campaign

There are other expenses related to starting and running specific marketing activities that you need to consider. In addition to making significant SaaS payments, marketers frequently struggle with expenses that pop up for specific campaigns, both online and offline.

For instance, you should start Google AdWords or social media advertising. For this, you may have a predetermined monthly project budget. But if you don’t and the need arises, you must act immediately.

Before launching the campaign, you must have funding and the ability to obtain manager approval. Additionally, you occasionally rely on tangible marketing materials. If you plan to attend a conference, you’ll need business cards and flyers to give to new acquaintances.

Monitor Your Marketing ROI

The simplest method for calculating marketing ROI is keeping track of the marketing costs associated with each approach you employ and contrasting them with the revenue generated after that campaign.

Running multiple strategies at once can make it difficult to distinguish between cause and effect. Still, you can also use metrics such as click-through rates, trending hashtags, split testing, website traffic, and other quantifiable data to assess your success based on your unique marketing goals.

It’s wise to stay on track and ensure you stay within budget. But feel free to experiment and test out a few strategies.

How to Manage Your Startup Marketing Budget

When you’re a startup, every cent counts, including your marketing budget. Luckily, there are several ways you can build an adequate budget without breaking the bank. Here’s how to do it.

Understand Your Financial Capabilities

It is crucial to know your budgetary limits. Before attempting to apportion resources, ensure you are familiar with how much your startup will spend on marketing.

Reviewing necessary business expenses, including labor, operating, and legal costs, at the end of the year, is a fantastic idea. Examine the leftovers and the amount that you can devote to marketing.

Furthermore, startups with less cash upfront will need to invest more time in place of the money needed to start up their marketing engine. Even so, you can still launch your business with some success by making the most of the money you do have.

Even with a limited advertising budget, straightforward strategies like Google ads, SEO or promoted social media posts can nevertheless provide a sizable return on investment. You can also try out other low-cost options, like attending conferences and charity events, sending newsletters to your subscriber list via email, and more.

Get Rid of What is Ineffective

If that fantastic marketing campaign you had in mind just doesn’t seem to work, abandon it. It is crucial to understand that specific strategies may take time to convert and start producing results. But there are times when you’ll be able to immediately notice when you need to fix one of your tactics.

Dropping unsuccessful tactics can save you a lot of marketing dollars. Even if you are not losing money, you may need to ditch a plan if you are not performing well from an ROI standpoint.

Pick Tactics That Work Well Together

Although being open to trying various marketing techniques is good, selecting techniques that work well together will pay off significantly.

A good example is how SEO works well with content marketing for a digital marketing campaign. They work well and can combine to boost your marketing effort. Combining content marketing and SEO can generate SEO-optimized content that attracts more traffic.

Additionally, think about techniques that will let you transfer or repurpose material from one media to another. This can help you save money even though you might need adjustments based on your needs.

Keep Your Marketing Strategy Flexible

Continue to examine your overall strategy and adjust as you gain information, explore, and discover new things.

You’ll need a road map to keep your expenditures inside your budget and know where you should be going.  

Regardless of your industry, dynamic capabilities are crucial for entrepreneurs. Scale your spending and plan to match your business’s expansion, and constantly look for new ways to be more original and creative in your methods.

Hire an Expert

Using a pro pays off in every way. Reputable and skilled fractional CMOs have connections to influential people, market understanding in your area, and the capacity to expertly evaluate and fine-tune advertising strategies to fit your brand perfectly.

Instead of juggling numerous responsibilities, you should leave your marketing plan to the experts and remove the element of uncertainty.

At ROAR CMO, we provide unbeatable marketing services that help businesses clear their marketing hurdles. Our fractional CMOs have the experience and expertise your company needs to produce unrivaled results without breaking the bank.


What are the Most Effective Channels for Startup Marketing Efforts?

You have a limited budget, and you’re competing with more established companies with a broader reach. It’s easy to feel like you’re behind the 8-ball from the start. But it’s not all bad news.

Many startups make the mistake of spreading their resources too thin, hiring inexperienced marketing managers, or pushing their efforts across too many channels. However, some channels tend to work better with startups. Let’s explore the most effective channels for startup marketing efforts.

Content Marketing

Even though it is well known that content marketing takes between six and nine months to show results, it is also one of the most affordable advertising methods. Budget optimization is crucial for startups, and your content can support several marketing strategies, such as inbound, outbound, and sponsored advertisements.

Affiliate Marketing

For startups, affiliate marketing can potentially be an efficient marketing approach. Content marketing may need to be faster when you’re testing the success of your marketing effort. Through affiliate marketing, you can be confident that your target audience immediately sees your advertising. The best marketing strategy to maximize your budget is performing affiliates rather than paid ads.


If you’re doing it yourself, SEO only costs you time. Although some cost-effective technologies may be necessary, there is no expense associated with uploading high-quality, optimized material. With efficient SEO, you can maximize the potential of your website.

Email Advertising

Your marketing team should consider the cost of email newsletters in the pricing plan for digital marketing. Numerous businesses all over the world are successfully using email marketing strategies. It is a cheap, easy, and efficient approach to letting potential customers know about new products and updates. One of the most significant advantages is that it doesn’t require huge cash outlays.

Which Online Marketing Tools and Platforms are Worth Investing In?

It’s easier to grasp what’s working and what’s not in your marketing campaigns when you need data to back things up. The best data-driven approach to take control of it is to spend money on the appropriate digital marketing tools. But which ones are worth your money? That’s a tricky question but we’re here to help you find the answer.

Email Tools

Among all the scalable, tried-and-true marketing channels available to contemporary businesses, email is undoubtedly the most effective. Email management tools are, therefore, a fundamental component of Internet marketing software for companies of all sizes.

Email tools help marketers develop a list, enhance delivery, and create killer offer campaigns.

Some excellent email tools to invest in include:

  • Hubspot
  • Moosend
  • Lemlist
  • SendGrid.

Social Media Tools

Social networking is a great way to develop business relationships and nurture leads, and it’s also great for getting insightful information about customer needs.

Managing social media marketing campaigns without tools can get exhausting quickly. Specialized software enables you to generate more insightful content and utilize social media to accomplish your overarching business objectives.

Some of the best social media tools to invest in include:

  • Loomly
  • Audiense
  • Sprout Social.

SEO Tools

Anything businesses can do to boost their search visibility is a gain as the virtual age grows increasingly cutthroat. Although SEO can be intimidating, especially for new firms, there are many essential resources available to you that can assist you in identifying search prospects and optimizing your current search engine operations.

Some of the best SEO tools to invest in include:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Clearscope

Lead Monitoring Tools

Tools are available to assist you in better evaluating your leads and identifying crucial information so you can contact them once they’ve expressed interest. Lead enrichment solutions are particularly effective for B2B marketing since they give you a more comprehensive view of your traffic and boost your lead generation and outbound advertising strategy.

Some of the best lead-improving tools to invest in include Clearbit and Datanyze.


Marketing budgets for startups are important but often the most difficult to pin down. It’s easy to become mired in a company’s daily operations and forget about your marketing budget. Even after you’ve done some market research and are ready to work on your startup marketing budget, the safest bet is to seek help from an expert.

A startup marketing budget aims to keep your team focused and on track and makes sure you are allocating your resources in the right places. And marketing professionals like fractional CMOs can help you implement your marketing strategy and complement your efforts.  

Strong marketing tactics can make all the difference, and at ROAR CMO, we’ve helped many businesses thrive from the ground up. Our fractional CMOs help startups reach new heights using a high-velocity growth roadmap.

If you need assistance getting started, get in touch with us, and we’ll go through it together.

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