We received this question during our most recent webinar with Augusoft on the topic of the future of continuing education marketing. It's a really great topic for continuing education programs, and other small and midsize businesses to think about. Here are our thoughts. 

The easy answer to the question of how much of a CE programing budget should be spent on marketing? It depends.

That is not a very satisfying answer, even if it’s the most accurate. However, that doesn’t mean there are no guidelines that can help continuing education programs plan intelligently.

According to the CMO Council 58% of small to midsize businesses devote less than 4% of revenue of their budget to marketing. The Small Business Administration recommends 2% to 3% of gross revenue should be devoted to marketing, though this varies wildly based on the needs of the program for each year. Very small businesses invest even more, according to Marketing Sherpa. Companies with less than 100 employees generally invest 11% of gross revenue. The Business Owner’s Toolkit tosses yet another figure out, citing 9.8% of revenue is spent by education. As you can see, the answer is not straightforward.

Our main takeaway for continuing education programs is to focus first on what marketing efforts are producing measurable results. As we outline in the whitepaper “The Future of Continuing Education Marketing” marketing should invest initially in a process through which marketing can be measured and tested continually in order to discover what brings about the best results.

The measurable impact your marketing is having on achieving your goals should then help dictate the amount of budget you can comfortably commit to each tactic. Additionally, mature tactics and new tactics differ in the amount of marketing investment they need to succeed. Ultimately, our biggest suggestion is to invest for the future in marketing that you can track, test and refine on the fly.

For more on this topic, and great marketing advice for continuing education programs, check out the latest webinar from Genoo and Augusoft available to watch now