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How Much We Spend on Our Own Marketing

by | Jul 17, 2020

No, this isn’t clickbait. I’m going to tell you how much we spend on our marketing at Codebreak.

I wouldn’t expect a business owner to invest in their marketing if we didn’t.

Time to walk the walk

One of the biggest ironies in business is not practising what you preach. The builder whose own house is falling down. The business coach who doesn’t understand his or her own numbers. The marketing agency that tells everyone to spend money on their marketing but doesn’t spend any on their own!

This is not the case with Codebreak and again I’m going to share that number with you.

It’s not a case of sniffing at businesses that haven’t got money to spend on their marketing or indeed other areas of their business. I can’t judge what someone can and can’t afford. I’d like to fly on Virgin Galactic but that ain’t going to happen.

What I can address, is business owners who can afford to spend money on their marketing but choose not to. They have different priorities. Years ago, I had a client who said she didn’t have £5 a day to spend on an ad campaign but she’d spend £10 a day on cigarettes. She isn’t in business anymore.

Why should a customer invest in you if you don’t invest in you?

I have to once more stress the quote from Sabri Suby’s excellent book, Sell Like Crazy. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to. He runs a hugely successful digital agency in Australia. He says if you can’t (or won’t) spend money to acquire a new customer, you haven’t got a sustainable business.

A harsh reality, but a reality. Yet some businesspeople wear it like a badge of pride. “I don’t spend anything on my marketing!” You don’t spend anything on protecting and promoting your livelihood?! That’s like saying, “I’ve bought a new car I’ve worked hard for. But I’m not going to spend any money looking after it!”

Word of Mouth on its own will only get you so far. Remember, customer loyalty is great, but people are loyal to themselves first. Especially when the brown stuff hits the fan. They lose their job, say? Er, a pandemic hits? They may quickly cancel or shop around, no matter how much they love you.

What is a customer worth to you?

It’s important you work out the average lifetime value of a customer; if a new sale brings you in £5,000, how much would you be prepared to land that sale?

Might the answer be zero? We’ve come across that before! It’s mad, when you think about it.

Marketing is an INVESTMENT, not a cost.

In our experience, about 75% of business owners get this. The other 25% view marketing as a necessary evil or waste of time and you’ll be wasting your time trying to convince them otherwise.

“Show me the MONEY!”

OK, so Codebreak’s spend…. We have a few clients abroad but we’re a small agency at the end of the day and mostly help SMEs in the UK. Hence, we market ourselves across the UK. Our services aren’t cheap but we’re not city agency prices either.

We’re currently spending about £3,000 a month on our marketing.

Again, I’m not going to tell clients they need to spend money on their marketing but not spend on my own. If any client were to ask me how much Joel and I spend and what we spend it on, I’d be happy to show them.

Imagine if I advise a client that they should spend £20 a day on Facebook Ads. Then they ask me how much I spend on Codebreak’s Facebook Ads and I say, “£1 a day…”? Or I don’t spend anything? I rely solely on Word of Mouth and pixie dust….

£3,000 a month.

I know some businesses who’ll drop that to sponsor one event. In fact, we’ve done that too! I know some businesses who wouldn’t spend £3,000 on their marketing over a year.

Some people reading this may be thinking, “Oh, it’s all right for you. You weren’t affected by lockdown. You charge more than me. I wish I could make your sort of money…” And all that b*llocks. Lockdown was HARD for Joel and I. But we got on with stuff rather than whining for days about what we couldn’t control. We innovated. We worked 18-hour days.

And we would have mini cabbed to ensure we could still afford to market ourselves. Not that many people were taking taxis…!

Marketing isn’t just for Christmas

To confirm, this £3,000 a month spend was pre lockdown, during lockdown and post lockdown. Marketing isn’t seasonal. Facebook and Google don’t respect Covid-19. It’s not a case of spending more when business is tough or less when business is great. In fact, it’s the other way around.

The clients who stayed with us during lockdown, guess what? If they were legally allowed to trade, they did, and they did successfully. If they couldn’t, they’ve bounced back with full diaries whilst some of their competitors are scrambling around for scraps.

They stayed in touch with their existing customers and engaged with new ones whilst their competitors stayed silent.

Most super successful companies will spend at least 10% of their turnover on marketing. Word of mouth, freebies, pro bono, contra deals…? They’re all lovely but if you’re reliant on not spending any money on marketing, you’ll have to give up a shit load of your time and shoe leather and you’ll probably go a little bit crazy.

I appreciate if budgets are tight, you have to do what you have to do, especially if you’re a start-up. But the point is, it’s not sustainable.

What is your time worth to you?

Something we often see is business owners who build their own website. Rarely is there a happy ending. Because they’re not web designers.

I could have done a Google search on fixing my wife’s car brakes… but funnily enough I took it to the garage instead and let a professional mechanic look at it. I wish I was better at automotive stuff but I’d rather spend that time learning how to be a better business owner, marketer, husband and father.

Those days and weeks it took someone to build their own website is time they could have spent ON their business. And they’d end up with a website that would work harder for them.

Please, ALWAYS put a price on your time. Because your time isn’t free.

If you’d like to know more about marketing maths, book a Discovery Call with me today, I’d love to help.

Codebreak Marketing Assistant Emily

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If there's a good fit between us, you'll also get an idea of how much you need to invest in order to generate the results you want.

Because that's what it's about. Results.


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