As a startup owner, you’ve set most of your budget. But how much should you allocate for marketing? We’re here to help you achieve this tricky balance.

This guide will provide you with strategic, innovative and analytical tools to create and maximize your startup marketing budget. Together, we’ll ensure every dollar contributes to your growth and success.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing budget should equal a certain percentage of annual revenue.
  • Younger companies (1 to 5 years old) should spend 12 to 20 percent of gross revenue on marketing. Meanwhile, older companies should commit 6 to 12 percent of gross revenue.
  • The average marketing budget for startups stands at 11.62% of overall revenue.
  • First, determine necessary expenses, then categorize them and spend only what you need.

Determining the Startup Marketing Budget

When it’s time to determine your startup’s budget, you must identify the resources you can allocate to achieve your marketing goals. Typically, it should include a certain percentage of your projected annual revenue.

Deloitte’s Annual CMO Survey indicates that in 2023, the average startup budget is 11.62% of overall revenue.

After all, your marketing strategy should consider various channels, as each entails different costs. Above all, keep your customer acquisition cost top of mind to help optimize your marketing spend and invest wisely.

Remember, your marketing team plays into this process, as their input can help manage expenses effectively. Ultimately, a well-planned marketing budget becomes a catalyst for business growth.

Marketing Budget for Software and Subscriptions

So, how do you factor in the costs of SaaS marketing tools and subscriptions into your startup’s budget?

This strategic tackles it best:

  • Firstly, identify all the SaaS tools required for your marketing efforts. These could range from email platforms to SEO tools.
  • Calculate their subscription costs on a monthly or annual basis to get a clear picture of these recurring marketing costs.
  • Include these costs in your startup marketing budget. Allocate resources accordingly to ensure your investments yield a solid ROI.
  • Constantly monitor and adjust your SaaS marketing budget and subscriptions. This provides flexibility for changing market conditions and evolving marketing campaigns.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to factor in trial periods or discounts offered by SaaS providers to reduce your online marketing costs.

Costs of Marketing Campaigns

You’ll need to budget carefully for the costs associated with your startup’s marketing campaigns. This strategic tool helps you plan for expenditures and allocate funds wisely. Campaign costs can range from advertising bills to the expenses arising from innovative marketing initiatives.

In the digital age, a large chunk of your marketing budget allocation might go towards digital advertising. Therefore, draft a precise budget plan to roll out your annual expenditures. Ideally, you’ll spend strategically, ensuring every dollar contributes to your startup’s growth.

Maximizing the Startup Marketing Budget

While allocating funds for your startup’s marketing efforts, give equal attention to maximizing those funds for optimal return on investment. Most importantly, prioritize your marketing tactics based on their potential return. In short, invest more in strategies that have proven to drive growth.

For instance, consider devoting funds to marketing automation software. It can streamline your processes, saving time and money.

Meanwhile, keep a close eye on your startup’s annual revenue. Use it to adjust your monthly marketing budget, so you don’t overspend.

Next, regularly revisit your marketing budget benchmark and tweak it as needed to keep your startup moving towards its goals.

Lastly, always make a marketing budget projection for the next quarter or year. This foresight allows you to prepare for any potential changes and challenges ahead.

Managing Marketing Expenses

Similarly, maintain a clear record of all costs and regularly assess the effectiveness of each marketing initiative. This includes analyzing your actual spending against your startup’s budget. Keep a keen eye on average spending to optimize your marketing dollars.

To simplify this, create a marketing budget formula. This will assist in balancing your business’s marketing costs. The table below can guide you:

Expenses TypeIdeal Percentage of Budget
Content Creation30%
Social Media25%

Constantly reassess this allocation. If a marketing company delivers substantial ROI, you might redirect more funds toward efforts in that area. Staying strategic and innovative manages marketing expenses optimally.

Marketing Budgets Across Company Growth Stages

As your startup progresses through different stages of growth, adjust your marketing budget accordingly. Early-stage startups require a leaner budget, focusing on creating a brand identity and reaching their initial growth targets. As your company enters the growth stage, a significant increase in financial investment in marketing measures helps drive revenue growth.

Consider these points when updating your marketing budgets across company growth stages:

  • Early-stage startups typically allocate 10 to 20 percent of their revenue to a startup marketing budget.
  • As your business plan evolves, so should your marketing budget.
  • A growth-stage startup might direct up to half of revenue towards marketing.
  • Mature companies often reduce marketing budgets as they focus more on sales expenses.
  • Regular reviews and adjustments of your budget ensure alignment with your strategic goals.


Setting your startup marketing budget leads to business growth. Remember, don’t just spend, but invest wisely in SaaS subscriptions, campaigns, and collaborations.

Next, adjust your budget as your company grows, manage expenses strategically, and always aim to maximize every dollar. Keep innovating, strategizing, and adapting, then watch your startup thrive!

At, we understand startups’ unique challenges in optimizing their marketing spend. Our team of fractional CMOs is dedicated to helping startups of every size navigate their marketing budget allocation effectively.

Whether you’re in the seed phase or looking to scale, our expertise in strategic, innovative, and analytical marketing will ensure your budget is not just spent, but invested in ways that drive real growth and success.

Connect with our team here, and let’s make the best out of your marketing budget!

About the Author

Mosheh Poltorak

Mosheh is a growth consultant, advisor, and fractional-CMO to early-stage startups. His specialty is at the intersection of marketing and product, and the overlap between data and customer experience. Mosheh has successfully deployed these strategies for companies big and small, across B2B and B2C industries. He has served as CMO for a number of startups in healthcare, technology, and eCommerce verticals.