by Steve Phipps
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How Much Marketing Agencies Charge Can Fluxuate Drastically; Here’s The Bottom Line

July 28, 2023 | Marketing

B2B marketers and business owners want to know how much marketing agencies charge. It’s a fair question, but unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a quick answer. Many marketing agencies will tell you that their costs are determined by what you need, and to some degree, it is, but not entirely. All marketing agencies have baseline costs for services that they could easily share on their websites, but most don’t. 

It’s time that more marketing agencies give potential customers a truer picture of expected costs on the front end. It saves everyone time in the long run and ensures a better fit. At Wayfind Marketing, we are not in the business of giving you the runaround about our B2B marketing services. While specifics may fluctuate, there are pricing facts and figures we can provide you at the outset to help you make a well-informed decision before scheduling a discovery call. 

We’d love to have your business! But we fully respect that we may not be right for everyone. We want to give you everything you need to make sure that our services fall within the range of your budget and expectations before we get too far down the road and one of us ends up disappointed. So with that in mind, here are the details about how much this B2B marketing agency charges in 2023! 

How Much Do Marketing Agencies Charge?

What is the cost of marketing a small business

Before we talk about how much marketing agencies charge, let’s get on the same page about a few things: 

  1. Marketing is an Investment — Many people look at marketing as an expense, but it’s really an investment because, when strategically planned and executed, it creates long-term value for the business. For example, investing in a strong brand image, building customer loyalty, or developing a comprehensive marketing strategy can pay off in the form of increased sales, customer retention, and market share. These types of marketing investments generate an ongoing ROI and can have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
  2. Marketing Costs are Usually Determined By a Company’s Annual Revenue — Marketing agencies that don’t post prices on their websites are generally trying to cater to a broad audience. We don’t think that’s a good strategy. Wayfind Marketing chooses to hone in on B2B marketing and marketing for certain service-based industries. We don’t want to be all things to all people, but we do strive to be excellent at marketing within these two verticals. That’s one reason why we are able to give more direct pricing information upfront. For context, we typically work with clients with $3M to $20 million in annual revenue. So if you work in a different industry, this information may not exactly apply to your unique context. 
  3. Marketing Strategy Must Drive Tactics — Business owners often come to us because they have an urgent marketing need that needs to be addressed ASAP. When this happens, marketing tactics are generally top of mind for the customer. For example, XYZ Financial Services isn’t showing up on page one of the Google search results page (SERP) for their preferred keywords. They need search engine optimization (SEO)! Some marketing companies will look at that and say, OK, let’s optimize your website and increase your traffic. But without a B2B marketing strategy, that traffic will not convert into meaningful results. You need a proven framework to drive new business. Wayfind Marketing is a strategy-first marketing agency. Rather than focusing on vanity metrics, we rely on revenue-generating tactics with clear KPIs and measurable goals.
  4. Not All Agencies Are Created Equal — To understand why there is a wide range in digital marketing agency pricing, remember that not all marketing agencies and deliverables are created equal. A price tag doesn’t tell the whole story. The level of expertise, service, and understanding of your unique industry will likely impact the bottom line. A vast discrepancy between how much marketing agencies charge may indicate a significant variation in quality. Ingredients matter. Do you want a 5-star marketing agency or to have it your way right away? The quality of the final deliverables will be unmistakable. 
  5. Understand the Four Common Pricing Models — There are four common pricing models in the marketing agency industry: hourly retainer, flat-rate, performance-based, and value-based. Wayfind Marketing operates on a value-based model, which we unpack below. Scroll down further for more information on the other models. 

Here is what B2B and service-based small businesses should expect to pay a marketing agency for strategic and tactical marketing services. 

How We Price Our B2B Marketing Services 

Phase 1: Strategy and Messaging

Marketing Strategy and Messaging Baseline Investment: $15,000 | Timeline: 2-3 months

What’s Included: 

  • Website/Marketing Audit 
  • SWOT Analysis 
  • Customer Interviews 
  • Marketing Personas 
  • Messaging Guide 
  • Tactical Recommendations

You need a proven framework to drive new business.

Phase 2: Website Design and Development and Building Online Sales Funnel

Website Design and Development Baseline Investment: $25,000 | Timeline: 3-4 months

What’s Included: 

  • Website design and development: home, services overview, 3-5 service pages, about
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): keyword research and website optimization 
  • Website copywriting: leveraging the They Ask, You Answer frameworks 
  • Other services, such as photography and videography, are added on at an additional cost

Sales Funnel Baseline Investment: $8,000 per sales funnel | Timeline: 2-3 months

What’s Included: 

  • Sales Funnel Strategy, Development, and Implementation
  • Lead-offer and Lead-page Design and Development 
  • PPC Advertising Strategy, Set-Up, and Implementation
  • Email Nurture Strategy, Set-Up, and Implementation
  • Copywriting and Design 

Value-based marketing agencies develop websites that look awesome and are optimized for search.

Phase 3: Monthly Digital Marketing Packages 

Option 1: Monthly Marketing Baseline Investment: starting at $5,000 per month* 

What’s Included: 

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Blog Writing 
  • Social Media Marketing Management 
  • Online Advertising Management 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Analytics, Reporting, and Review

*Costs are variable based on how many monthly services you want, frequency, etc. 

Option 2: Coaching Services*: Baseline Investment: starting at $4,000 per month

What’s Included: 

  • Sales Coaching and Training 
  • Building Your In-House Marketing Team
  • SEO Basics 
  • How to Use Video
  • Content Marketing Coaching (Planning, Writing, Implementation, and Review) 

*Our certified coaching services are based on the They Ask, You Answer framework.

Read More: Strategic Marketing Helps You Stop Guessing and Start Growing Your Business

As we’ve said, these baseline investments are a starting point for how much marketing agencies charge. Additional capabilities and tactics can be added once we better understand your needs and goals. 

All things considered, a growing small business should expect to invest between $50,000 to $75,000 in initial marketing costs and at least $5,000 in monthly marketing costs to get meaningful results. 

What Percentage of Your Budget Should You Allocate for Marketing Costs?

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Annual CMO Survey, company marketing budgets tend to make up just over 11% of a company’s total budget. While this is a starting point, there is more to the story when it comes to how much businesses spend on marketing. Some of the influencing factors include:

  • Industry 
  • Life-cycle stage 
  • Location 
  • Products and Services 
  • Size and capabilities of your sales team 
  • Ideal Customers 
  • Goals 

Some aspects of digital marketing can be a bit of a long-term play. For example, you won’t rise to the top of online searches overnight. It takes time to develop and optimize your content and convert traffic into business. That said, there are some targeted tactics for converting leads to customers sooner rather than later and ramping up your revenue. It just means you will need to invest more upfront to get some quick wins.

digital marketing costs q and a

4 Pricing Models for Digital Marketing Pricing Packages

Just like the price tags vary, how much marketing agencies charge can be as unique as your business. Let’s dive a little deeper and look at some of the pricing models you might be considering.

1. Hourly Retainer — This pricing structure is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll pay a marketing expert, potentially a freelancer, for their time rather than per project. Because you’re not locked into specific tactics, one advantage of this approach is that it allows flexibility. So one month, you might want those hours spent on making some changes to your website for optimization, and the next, you might allocate that time for content creation. 

An hourly retainer is also a common model if you want a marketing guru to serve your business as a fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) if you don’t have your own in-house expert.

2. Flat-Rate Pricing — With flat-rate pricing, you’re paying a la carte for services and projects, regardless of the time it takes to complete them. This might be a good option for businesses with a smaller budget who know what they want from the marketing buffet. Digital marketing agencies like The HOTH and Marketing 360 are leaders in this space.

While this approach eliminates any surprises, the potential downside is that it’s not customized to your business size or industry.

CASE STUDY: “Our Marketing Has Never Been Better” — Tellennium Reaps the Benefits of An Outsourced CMO

3. Performance-Based Pricing — You may have an identified goal in mind for your marketing efforts and want to make sure you see a return on your investment based on a certain metric. In this model, you pay for digital marketing services based on results such as pay-per-click (PPC) or pay-per-lead or sharing a percentage of your revenue with the marketing agency. 

For example, one agency that follows this model, RedRover, will credit back some of your pre-planned budgets to a future month if your plan metrics are not achieved. While this approach may be effective if you have a campaign with very specific, measurable goals, this isn’t the typical pricing structure for most digital marketing agencies. Even if a marketing strategy generates a mountain of leads, an agency has no control over whether those leads are pursued. Conversions typically require a sales effort within your business to get those clients across the finish line.

4. Value-Based Pricing — If you’re looking for a “sky’s the limit,” tailored marketing approach, this is your best bet. This comprehensive package is determined by the quality of the work performed and gives the agency an opportunity to really get to know your business, so together, you can create and deploy a strategy suited to help you rise above the noise and become a leader in your space. 

A value-based online marketing agency will take the time to understand your potential clients, create personas, write content based on proven keyword research, and develop websites that don’t just look awesome but are optimized for search. Serving as your guide, they will revisit your marketing strategy throughout the campaign, monitor your results, and pivot when needed rather than put your marketing on autopilot.

Get a Better ROI with a B2B Marketing Agency

If you’re ready to start growing your business with the help of a digital marketing agency, we’d love to answer your questions and even offer you a free website assessment to share what might help you drive your ideal clients your way. We love getting to know business owners and putting our knowledge into action as guides who can give you results. Let’s set up a discovery call to talk about creating a digital marketing strategy that rocks your goals and considers your budget.

by Steve Phipps
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An Effective B2B Marketing Strategy: Why Messaging and Audience Matter