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Challenges (and Solutions) for Companies with Little to No Marketing Budget

Marketing budgets are on the rise as more and more brands are emerging and developing innovative ideas and products. In order to keep up with competitors, companies have been focusing on creating a financial plan for their marketing campaigns. While some businesses can pour thousands – if not millions – of dollars into their marketing budget, others such as start-ups, nonprofits, and small businesses may not have the means to create a big budget or a budget at all.

Fear not, there are still solutions to these challenges and ways to market your company without having to spend more than you can afford. Here are three common challenges companies with little to no marketing budget are facing and solutions to go with them.

Challenge One: Overambitious Goals

Many companies, especially small businesses and start-ups, have a lot of ideas and set ambitious goals but don’t have the bandwidth to execute them. Your business or start-up may be in a phase where you are stuck on how to implement these big ideas because of the limited of resources you have. In this case, your projects and campaigns are not being assessed appropriately.


If you own a small business or a start-up and are struggling to reach your goals and put ideas into place, focus on having your marketing team use organizational tactics. Realistic timelines and communication are key. Also, be sure to track your progress and whether you hit or miss deadlines so you don’t make the same mistakes.

Oftentimes, start-up companies become overly ambitious and set high expectations and deadlines without knowing the full extent of the time it takes to accomplish a project, which is why it’s important to be realistic when setting goals. If your resources are limited, look into hiring interns to gain a fresh perspective and fill in the gaps where its needed.

Challenge Two: Stagnant Growth

Many companies fail to achieve their growth objectives in profits and productivity. A number of factors contribute to this including a lack of education.

Other factors could be businesses becoming complacent and not reaching out to do more or leadership dysfunction. In most cases, growth is driven by successful marketing strategies, finance, and research and development.

Non-profits have been surviving and continue to grow because of their ability to tailor to the needs of their primary funding sources. Non-profits are also know how to do a lot with a little. In most cases, non-profits don’t even have the budget to hire a team to do their marketing but have been successful in learning how to market without a budget.


Besides targeting and keeping the focus on their clients, here are four successful marketing techniques nonprofits are using that require little to no budget: seeking out new markets, forming corporate partnerships, picking the brains of interns and volunteers, and taking advantage of social networks.

To gain a fresh prospective, marketers for non-profits should try to attend networking events and free seminars/webinars. This will give them new ideas and keep them up to date on the latest trends.

Challenge Three: Budget Cuts

Many companies find themselves unsuccessful in increasing emphasis on the long term value of their business. Even large corporations are guilty for this. Larger corporations that are in dwindling industries or bought out face budget cuts or even slash entire departments. They’re asked to do more with less. When marketing departments face budget cuts or a decreasing staff, they must become innovative and focus on the long-term value of the firm instead of short-term revenues.

Think of the show The Office for example. If you’re a fan of The Office, then you know that one of the main challenges faced by Dunder Mifflin — a paper company — was the business world going digital and becoming paperless. They work in a diminishing field with limited growth potential and face an uphill marketing battle.



Marketing procedures need to be focused on building new knowledge and intangible assets. Being up to date on new data and knowing how to creatively deliver this to prospective clients is key to creating long-term value for your big company. In addition, building long-term relationships with your customers and being able to consistently fulfill their needs will also give your company value in the future. A big budget is not required to do this.

The most important element to remember when dealing with these challenges is innovation and knowledge. Being creative with your marketing approach and knowing the latest trends and data about the product or service you are promoting will help your business not only maintain its clients but also gain new ones. Client focus is also important as you must not forget who you are trying to target. Regardless of what your budget is, marketing offers an array of solutions to keep your business going, you just have to be a little creative.

About the author

Angela Lucas