One of the first questions businesses and potential start ups want to know when they get in contact is: “How much does a marketing plan cost?”
All business owners or those just starting out know they need a marketing plan to grow but many are afraid the cost of a plan will drive it outside their reach (especially when they’re starting out and every penny counts – yes I know I’m showing my age when I’m referring to pennies and not cents!). Although this is a difficult question to answer as every business and industry is different, I’ll try here to explain some general pricing guidelines.
Our marketing plans can typically cost from €1,000 to €5,000. Prices increase dependent on how much market research you require (both primary and secondary). And the research is critical as it helps to nail your brand story, your unique selling proposition and your buyer personas (skip these elements and I’ll guarantee you’re going to waste your time and your money). However if you have these nailed down, that will greatly help reduce the time involved to formulate the marketing plan.
The complexity of your marketing plan depends on;
- How big is your market? Local, National or International markets?
- Marketing Goals & Objectives? Brand awareness, lead generation, sales, or a mix?
- Your resources
- Size of your business
- Your marketing budget
- How do you want to grow?
- How fast do you want to grow?
- Do you want to disrupt the market?
- Have certain marketing tactics delivered for you already?
- Your market research requirements
Let’s go into a little more detail in each one.
Local vs National vs International
Where’s your focus this year? Are you starting in a local market with a limited geographical reach or are you looking for national exposure? Or are you taking the plunge to expand into export markets. If you’re focused on a local market, we won’t have to spend as much time researching that market as we would if you were planning to start exporting into new markets.
Goals and Objectives
If you’re trying to increase sales by 5% or brand awareness among your key target market by 15%, we would look at different ways to accomplish these totally different objectives. That’s why we always spend time sitting down with you to identify what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Our process is normally two meetings with you, your stakeholders and time in between for more research and due diligence.
Also, what part of the buyer journey are you trying to improve;
- Awareness stage – do they know you exist?If they don’t (or not enough of them do, we would look at Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing (if you have the budget), Social Media marketing, Online and Off-line Public Relations to name a few.
- Consideration stage – they are aware you exist but should they consider your product or service? Have you good brand awareness but little web traffic or calls or visits? We would look at different tactic from the ones listed above.
- Decision stage – are you converting leads and enquiries into sales? Again, different tactics and content are needed.
Do you have the skills and resources to implement a complex plan or are you looking for something simple? Do you have the budget to outsource some of the more complex tactics like search engine optimisation, content marketing, or analytics or are you happy to upskill and do them yourself? While they appear complex when you first start, there are plenty of courses available to upskill in these areas if you’re interested. But it all comes down to your time and interest.
Size of your business
Obviously a marketing plan for a large business is very different in scope and complexity from one we would develop for a small business looking to start getting some new clients. Depending on the business, we will mystery shop, conduct interviews with customers and lost prospects to feed data into the plan rather than rely on assumptions.
Your marketing budget
If you have a decent budget, there will be lots more tactics looked at and costed (all of which take time) but you’ll need to track your investment to see if you are getting a return. If you have a very limited budget (or none), it is a much quicker and simple marketing plan to develop. You can still be very effective with a limited budget but it does cut down some channels and you need to be much more creative.
How do you want to grow?
The most effective way for a small business to grow is by focusing on organic growth. You can increase the organic growth of your business in lots of ways such as;
- gaining more customers
- persuading each customer to buy more products / services
- persuading each customer to buy more expensive products / services
- persuading each customer to buy more profitable products / services
Each of these will increase your revenue and profit. Most business owners come to me totally focused on the first one but they’re missing a quick win (as much as there ever is a quick win!) if they don’t include tactics to achieve these growth paths. Obviously if you’re a start up, the first will be more important to you. But if you’re going awhile, it could be worth devoting some of your marketing to the other elements.
Commitment to business growth
If you want growth fast, different tactics need to be looked at and researched. Lots of SMEs are happy to grow slow and steady and build up their business.
Tolerance for risk
Some clients don’t want to change too much from what they’ve always done, just a review or a marketing audit to see can they make simple, easy improvements. A marketing plan for this type of business is very different from one developed for a high potential start up that wants to disrupt their market before competitors react.
If you’ve already tested lots of marketing tactics and want to simply improve them as you truly know your customer and your market, your marketing plan could be completed for between €1,000 and €1,500. Note that these are “typical” numbers; actual prices could be above or below these ranges.
Your market research requirements
If you’re looking for trends and analysis, in-depth analysis and/or brainstorming on the problem your customer has and identifying routes to market, this research takes time and can add considerable hours to the development of the plan but I find it is nearly always worth doing. Research is key as otherwise you can simply use a template (and there are lots out there for particular industries) and develop it from there.
All of these numbers and prices are very general. Still, I hope this article helps you to have a better feel for marketing plan pricing and what to expect when you start going through the process.
If you’re interested in writing your own business plan check out https://www.marketingeye.ie/how-to-write-a-marketing-plan/
Good luck in developing your marketing plan for your business and growing that business.