How Much Does Marketing Really Cost?

Worstofall Design here to debug some common marketing myths..

“I’m a small biz and I want to invest in marketing: 
How Much Should I Spend?”

Before we dive in, there’s a chance you’re asking yourself the wrong questions… instead answer this…

If you knew that for every dollar you spent on marketing you would get two dollars back, how much would you spend on that campaign?

EHHHHH!! wrong answer.

You would spend a BAGILLION DOLLARS!!

You’d spend everything you could get your hands on! You’d mortgage your house, your car, and your kids! (Stolen from a presentation by Joe from Ajax Union — thanks for your wisdom Joe!)

And yet, you aren’t mortgaging your kids, now are you. Why not?

Because how much you should spend also depends on 2 things:

  1. How much you’re willing to make
  2. If you “believe” in marketing

If you don’t spend a lot on marketing, then you either don’t want any more money, or you don’t believe it works.

It makes sense to not believe in “marketing”, because it’s not easy to market well.

“Throw shit at the wall” marketing is where you spend money on random actions, like a mailer or buying paid traffic. You do this with no clear goal or way of tracking it.

Then, if you aren’t magically wealthy after, you stop marketing completely and decide marketing doesn’t work.

Let’s be perfectly clear. That is not how to market.

So the issue isn’t Marketing it’s YOU, the solorepreneur or over-worked small team. It’s your lack of a fundamental understanding of how marketing spending should work…


The smart kind of marketing, marketing that turns $1 into $2 (or $4, or $10) requires you to spend money and not get any in return at first (gasp!).

It requires you to INVEST in learning. Burn cash and to keep going anyway (Badass).

There are infinite ways to market, and every business is going to benefit from a particular recipe of ingredients. The key is tracking what you’ve tried and how it turns out.

Like a cake recipe that evolves over time. You realize what parts of your marketing strategy are the eggs (can’t be left out) and the icing (added to your preference). It takes time to find the right mix for your business.

And to get there, you might need to taste some shitty cakes for a while…


Social media might work great for Mommy & Me Yoga but horribly for Joe Schmo the Insurance Salesman.

Joe Schmo might benefit more from networking meetings, but Ms. Peabody with her new cosmetic product won’t see any return networking.

You can make some educated guesses, but until you test and track, and test and track, again and again, you won’t know. You can’t just copy and paste from some blog you read once.

To be successful in marketing, it really comes down to your brand and how it’s positioned.

Using best practices on paid advertising does not guarantee you ever make your money back marketing.

Getting people interested is easy. Being a brand they spend money on is an entirely separate beast (that’s branding).

Once you test and track, you will find out there is a magic formula for your brand that will multiply your marketing dollars.

If you invest the time and money into finding out where you make not just a decent profit, but the highest return, then you can start shoving as much money as you can in that direction. And you can do it with confidence about the dollars you will get back. And when you commit and support this ecosystem overtime, the benefits will grow exponentially.

The key: you must invest money and time to find that magic recipe. And don’t be surprised to never see an ROI if you’re branding sucks and your business is forgettable.

(If you think this sounds you or your business, head to brandupbootcamp.combefore you spend another cent of your marketing budget!)

If you find that magic number for dollars in and dollars out, then the sky is the limit. You have a slinkey that you can expand and contract as you wish based on the amount of money you want to make and the lifestyle you want to lead.

And that information, the knowledge of what marketing actions can turn x into 10x, greatly increases the value of your business. It also makes you look great to potential buyers, should you ever decide to sell your business and go live on a beach somewhere.

But whatever you do, make sure you have a brand worth marketing before you dive in…

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.