What could an early-stage founder do with a $25,000 investment?

Hypothetically, they could use that money to buy 50 Herman Miller Aeron chairs or five top-of-the-line MacBook Pros for the engineering team. Or, they could use the funds to kick-start their 2022 marketing efforts.

A new year is quickly approaching, which brings new resolutions — and new budgets. To get some expert advice about how to optimize next year’s marketing spending, we reached out to several professionals we identified through our TechCrunch Experts project and asked: “If you only had a $25,000 marketing budget for Q1 2022, how would you spend it?”

“People really do come back from the holidays looking for new tools, new experiences, new ways to do things,” said Tracey Wallace, director of marketing at MarketerHire. She said companies can “make the most of that” by doing some industry-related research now that can be adapted after the new year for long-form site content and social media campaigns.

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Jonathan Martinez of JM Strategy advised running parallel campaigns on TikTok, Facebook and Google. “Instead of going full force on only one channel, I’d try to make the decision at about the halfway mark ($12,500) on which channel of the three to double down on,” he suggests.

Here’s who we talked to:

  • Cam Sinclair, director/marketeer, Ammo
  • Jonathan Metrick, chief growth officer, Portage Ventures
  • Tracey Wallace, director of marketing, MarketerHire
  • Jonathan Martinez, founder, JMStrategy
  • Maya Moufarek, founder, Marketing Cube
  • Peep Laja, CEO, Wynter and founder of CXL
  • Lindsay Goldman, strategic advisor, MO Pros

Cam Sinclair, director/marketeer, Ammo

If we were advising one of our early-stage startups how best to deploy their $25,000 marketing budget for Q1 2022, here’s what we’d suggest.

Budget breakdown:

  • Growth marketing course with Demand Curve: $2,500.
  • Minimum viable brand design: $5,000.
  • Events, PR: $5,000.
  • LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram campaign: $5,000.
  • Video content: $5,000.
  • Copywriting: $2,500.

Understand growth

There’s some great resources and communities out there that help founders understand and apply growth. One we have been loving lately at Ammo is Demand Curve. They have a course, Slack community and templates for startups and can even review your campaigns when you get started. The other course/community I’d recommend for an introduction to growth is Growth Tribe based in Europe.

Build a “minimum viable brand” that can scale

Invest in brand and design upfront, but don’t go over the top. (We talked about the minimum viable brand concept in a recent TechCrunch story) Your brand touches everything you do in marketing so having a great foundation will put you in good stead and make sure you are looking professional in front of customers.

Invest in a copywriter

Distilling complex ideas into short, succinct copy is a superpower. Investing in a pro copywriter to explain your value proposition is always worth it.

Grow your network with events and PR

You may have been involved in your customer’s industry for a while before you started the company. Utilize these connections and ask for help. It’s amazing how many founders don’t first check with their immediate network when they start. After you take that first step, as Steve Blank says you need to “get out of the building” and start having conversations with customers but also be present in their community. Most of the time there will be events in your industry that you can sponsor or speak at as an expert in the field. If your technology is solving a big problem for the people in the room they should want to know about it.

Run a short LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram campaign on your topic or service

Facebook and Instagram still remain amongst the cheapest marketing channels available. Not only does it give you a chance to test your brand message and content in front of live customers, but it can also help you build an audience or email list in the platform of your choice.


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