The Cost of Marketing – A Budget Breakdown for Businesses


Every company – regardless of its size, industry, or location, relies on the same thing to grow: marketing. In the course of planning a marketing strategy and annual budget, business owners realize that it could cost them thousands to lakhs of rupees. And marketing is not something you can put on hold for a year or two and press a reset button when the time feels right. It’s an ongoing activity, without which, a business will not be able to thrive. Let’s understand what it is in marketing that you are paying for!

Your guide to the true cost of marketing

1.Cost of SEO

SEO is a modern marvel of marketing and there’s no better way than this to get your business noticed. From on-page optimization to keyword research, copy additions and updates to link building, and analytics setup to reporting – these are a few of the many activities that form a part of SEO and contribute to improving a brand’s ranking on search engines. When your site ranks on top in terms of searches that are relevant to your industry, you are better able to reach prospects who may have never heard of your brand otherwise. Evidently, many business owners are now spending time studying the impact of SEO and choosing to invest generously and wisely. Long gone are the days when business owners would fall victim to the Rs. 4999 per month “guaranteed page one” schemes. Rather, they are more involved in identifying the monthly SEO performance, competitor analysis, assessing industry traffic potential, best keyword opportunities for their sites, and content building among other things. Moreover, such well-informed business owners understand the realistic investment that SEO demands and the amount of time it takes to rank on page one of search engines. No wonder the marketing world treats SEO as a high-return investment option offering long-term benefits.

2.Cost of web design

A website is at the center of a company’s online presence, which not only reflects what a brand has to offer but also demonstrates to target audiences why they should choose them over their competitors. Any brand that doesn’t attain both of these goals, or has no website at all, must consider approaching a specialist web designer. Presently, there are thousands of professionals and agencies catering to this requirement, charging anywhere between Rs. 20,000 to a lakh, depending on the scale of your project and budget. Because of multiple variables like templates, copywriting, graphics, and database integration, the cost of web designing is substantial. An important element that may influence this cost are plug-and-play websites offered by providers like WordPress and Squarespace, typically for those unwilling to spend time on the development phase. All in all, the cost involved in web designing has been perceived as the best one-time investment plan.

3. Cost of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an excellent way to instantly attract traffic to your site, and it’s a good companion to SEO. While SEO takes time to produce results, PPC is immediate. The best part about PPC advertising is that you are only charged when someone clicks your ad. However, the cost of a PPC campaign may vary month after month, depending on the targeted keywords, PPC networks, banner ad design, and reach of the campaign. For instance, a mid-sized agency may charge anywhere between Rs. 10,000-15,000 per month for a single campaign with 50 keywords, 5-6 ad copies, search ads, and ad copy optimization . This cost may increase if multiple brands bid for top-ranking keywords. When PPC is working effectively, the fee seems trivial, because the site visit fetches way more than what one pays for. It’s no wonder why marketers are no longer giving a second thought to PPC marketing and in fact, learning how to do it right.

4.Cost of content marketing

Reports suggest that nearly 43% of marketers boosted their content marketing budget in 2022 and 63% of them are willing to increase it again. Evidently, content marketing is effective and delivers the best returns on investment. However, a content strategy works well only if it’s relevant, targeted, high in quality, and encompasses all aspects of content – whether it is email marketing, blogging, video marketing, or social media marketing. What further contributes to increased content marketing costs are content formats, promotional tools, quantity of content, publishing sources, and strategic inputs. With the help of a content marketing agency or freelance specialist, you can achieve your larger marketing goal, generate sales, attract customers, and ultimately create a positive brand image.

5.Cost of social media marketing

Now that practically every brand has accounts across social media, it has become increasingly challenging to stand out and reach customers. On the flip side, not having an online presence can directly hamper one’s brand awareness and customer retention rates. From start-ups to large multinationals, businesses of all types are leaving no stone unturned in investing in social media marketing, which is no longer limited to posting once or twice a week. Much like any other marketing channel, a social media strategy, too, depends on your target audience and industry. The cost of social media marketing is largely influenced by other factors like the number of platforms a brand wants to advertise on, types and quantity of posts to be published, range of existing and targeted audiences, and long-term social media marketing goals. And although a high-value investment that varies as per a company’s size, requirement, and duration, marketers believe it to be the best money investment plan.

In conclusion

The subject of whether a marketing plan is worth the seemingly high cost is way too subjective and complex to narrow down to a simple answer. However, in many cases, there are reasonable justifications for high marketing costs, and if you implement a well-strategized campaign, you should be able to generate a considerable revenue and make up for the investment made. Some businesses do get away with little to no marketing, especially in the initial years, but most companies end up benefiting from it – even though it may appear costly on paper.