How much should an SME invest in marketing?

Andrea Faliva
luglio 2024 - 3 minuti

Marketing is a key investment for any company, whether small or large. It is the tool to achieve business goals such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, increasing sales and improving customer loyalty.

For SMEs, investing in marketing can be a challenge, as financial resources are often limited. However, it is important to dedicate the necessary resources to build an effective marketing strategy.

In this article, we will look at how much an SME should invest in marketing, what factors to consider when determining the amount to invest, and how to monitor the results of marketing activities.


  • Ch. 1: Investment Amount
  • Ch. 2: Factors to Consider
  • Ch. 3: Monitoring Results
  • Conclusion

Amount of Investment

There is no single answer to the question of how much an SME should invest in marketing. The amount to be invested depends on several factors, including:

  • The marketing objectives: The marketing objectives determine the type of marketing activities to be implemented and, consequently, the amount to be invested.
  • The target market: The target market determines the cost of marketing activities, e.g. the cost of advertising or social media marketing.
  • Competitors: Competitors determine the level of investment needed to be competitive.
  • Financial resources: The available financial resources determine the maximum amount the company can invest in marketing.

In general, it is recommended that SMEs invest at least 10% of their turnover in marketing. However, this amount may vary depending on the factors mentioned above

Turnover Average Min Max Average per sector
< 2 million euro 2,5% 0,5% 10% 3,5%
2-5 million euro 5% 2% 15% 5,5%
5-10 million euro 7,5% 3% 25% 8,5%
10-20 million 10% 5% 35% 11,5%
> 20 million 15% 10% 50% 16,5%

Factors to consider

In addition to marketing objectives, it is also important to consider other factors when determining the amount to be invested in marketing. Here are some examples:

  • The development stage of the company: Companies that are in the start-up or expansion stage need to invest more in marketing than companies that are in a more mature stage.
  • The business sector: More competitive business sectors require a higher investment in marketing.
  • The marketing strategy: The marketing strategy adopted determines the type of marketing activities to be implemented and, consequently, the amount to be invested.

Monitoring results

It is important to monitor the results of marketing activities to check whether the investment is producing the desired results. Results can be monitored through various indicators, such as:

  • Website traffic: Website traffic is an important indicator of brand awareness and lead generation.
  • Conversions: Conversions are the actions that users take on the website, such as buying a product or downloading an ebook.
  • Return on investment (ROI): ROI is the ratio of revenues generated by marketing activities to costs incurred.

By monitoring the results of marketing activities, changes can be made to the strategy as needed.

Investing in marketing is an important investment for any SME that wants to achieve its business goals. However, it is important to invest in a smart and focused way so that you get the maximum return on your investment.

Here are some tips on how to invest in marketing effectively for an SME:

  • Focus on your goals: It is important to define specific and measurable marketing goals so that you can monitor results and make budget adjustments as needed.
  • Use data: Data is key to creating an effective marketing strategy. It is important to collect data on your target market, competitors and industry trends.
  • Be flexible: The market is constantly changing, so it is important to be flexible and adapt your marketing strategy as needed.

By following these tips, you can create an effective marketing strategy that helps your SME achieve its business goals.