What’s the better approach: spending $1,000/month on marketing or spending $12,000 to establish a solid marketing foundation?

In my mind, the answer is obvious: invest $12,000 to set the stage for marketing and sales success and, as important, meet the needs of customers.

marketingI ran into this situation recently when I received an email from a small business looking for help. They were exploring the idea of blogging, social media, a newsletter and advertising. And they wanted to do all of it for $1,000/month.

My first reaction was they wanted to do a lot on a minimal budget, which sadly is the typical approach taken by small businesses and startups.

Why is it that so many startups think marketing can be done on the cheap while money is poured into product development and sales?

When thinking more about what this company wanted to do, the next thought was: what is it looking to achieve? Why is it considering a variety of marketing channels on such a small budget? And how does its marketing plans align with what it wants to achieve and the resources to execute?

It turns out the goal was more leads. But there didn’t seem to be much thought about the best strategic approach or have a solid foundation for marketing such as using a canvas. The proposed options struck me as “spray and pray” rather than targeted and focused.

While being focused is important, marketing can’t thrive without a solid foundation. When I looked at the company’s Website, for example, it wasn’t designed or optimized to turn leads into prospects. There wasn’t enough information, good content or compelling calls-to-action. Even if their marketing efforts are successful, it would be for nought because conversion would likely be low.

While the discussions never moved beyond monthly tactical work, my advice would have been to spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a redesigned Website, better and more content, and an email marketing solution that could nurture potential prospects.

At the very least, this would be a solid long-term investment that would support marketing activities.

More: For startups looking to establish a super-strong marketing foundation, here’s a $25,000 “recipe” that includes the key ingredients.


If you want to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen – everything from messaging and brand positioning to strategic planning and content development. Here’s how you can explore the different ways we can work together.

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