SME Real Talk: Marketing on a Dime

We know that marketing is the right thing to do for a Small Medium Enterprise. Knowing that Is the right thing to do does not mean we do it. Budget constraints can stand in the way.

We have to eat our greens.

We don’t do it.


It does not taste good.

We know we have to market our work, products, and services.

We don’t do it.


We are running on a shoestring budget.

This is our daily encounter. The core team from Bottomsup Perspective meets hundreds of people and hears this no-money statement up to a thousand times.

NO money?

I get it.

Then we have to get creative.

It is time to think out of that bloody box, peeps.

In fact, this idea fascinates us so much that we actually wrote one long-form content about it.

Small Business Real Talk: Marketing on a Dime

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.”

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, The Content Advisory

Marketing requires us to pick up that horn on the floor.

And blow it.

At the same time, not everyone has the budget to get that microphone and stereo surround equipment. If you are just starting out, then you will have these questions at the back of your head.

  • How much is required for marketing, at a minimum?

  • What do we need to spend money on?

  • How should we think about Return-on-Investment for marketing?

Hang on to your wallet, read this article, and make a prudent decision.

Share Insights-In-Sight

How Much is Required for Marketing at a Minimum?

Let us re-visit what marketing is, fundamentally.

“Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.”

— Michael Hyatt, NY Times Best Selling Author

First, it is also easy to talk about ourselves. We can start there.

Tell people what you do. Show people what you are working on in the office. Take a photo in the meeting room. Do a simple livestream that you are learning how to operate a product.

Tell people that you won a deal. Tell people you lost a deal.

Most importantly, the platforms you use to amplify your voice do not cost a dime.

Social media platforms are free. Third-party newsletter platforms, like Substack, are free. They take a cut of your subscription income when you decide to go paid version.

A variety of writing platforms such as Linkedin, Vocal, company websites are free.

Think about it.

Your voice matters more than the minimum costs.


What Do We Need to Spend Money on?

There are 2 reasons we spend money on marketing:

  • What you can do, and is time-consuming for you to do.

  • The skillsets you do not have.

The first reason is easy to comprehend.

Work out what you are good at.

It can be writing.

It can be shooting videos.

And then delegate or outsource.

You do that because you can control quality. You know exactly what needs to be done. Your contracted counterparty cannot cut corners or pull the wool over your eyes.

Next, you spend money on work that is beyond you. Work that happens to be dead necessary.

You may be doing content marketing, digital marketing, writing online for a living.

You may happen to be a Technology dinosaur.

In that case, you have to put out a pot of money for Search Engine Optimization work.

This ensures that your work has the highest chance of seeing the light of the day.


You spend money to attend an evening course to learn what S.E.O. is and apply them to your marketing efforts.

How Should We Think About Return-on-Investment for Marketing?

This is the standard formula for Marketing R.O.I.

Sales Growth - Organic Sales Growth - Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = Marketing R.O.I. 

This is the industry benchmark when interpreting the above formula.

The rule of thumb for marketing R.O.I. is typically a 5:1 ratio, with exceptional R.O.I. being considered at around a 10:1 ratio. Anything below a 2:1 ratio is considered not profitable, as the costs to produce and distribute goods/services often mean organizations will break even with their spend and returns.

Everyone is concerned about return on investment. Unfortunately, this is a direct, casual relationship when it comes to marketing.

No marketers can guarantee guaranteed marketing-to-sales conversion.

No marketers can guarantee that sales will increase by 20% after running a 2-week campaign.

Patience is the game in marketing.

If you have to think about R.O.I. for marketing, consider taking a multi-year view. You are more likely to see results from that angle.

If you want to run a marketing campaign today and expecting results tomorrow – Get real. Really.

It is not going to happen.

Refer to this link to read the entire article.

This is the YouTube show on Marketing on a Dime.

Our YouTube Channels – Knowledge Topics

On our Youtube Channel, we produce content to uncover topics that permeate all walks of life. Our community can understand what it means to be in the trenches of our interest.

Here are some topics of interest we recorded with high viewership:

Our goal is to share our research with our community from a practitioner's standpoint.


Share Insights-In-Sight


We need to get creative.

Marketing on a shoestring budget requires us to be creative!

Find ways to market without any upfront costs. Social media, YouTube, Substack, Mailchimp. They are free to use.

The job of Bottomsup Perspective is to research, discuss, and share our findings so our community can grow with us.

This topic is one example of sharing our practitionership.

Do you believe in what we do?

If you do, push this big purple button.


On Behalf of the Bottomsup Perspective Team