The 12% Marketing Investment Formula

The 12% Marketing Investment Formula
By CJ Easter, Fitness Revolution

By CJ Easter, Fitness Revolution

The majority of independent gyms are underinvesting in marketing.


And because of this, they are getting left behind as boutique franchises buy up market share with their corporate branding campaigns AND large local marketing budgets.


According to CMO Survey by Duke University, Deloitte Consulting, & the American Marketing Association, the average service business spends 12% of revenue on marketing.


Based on my experience in my own gyms and working with hundreds of other gyms at Lead Engine Marketing, investing 6-8% in marketing will replace your monthly churn and keep your head above water, while 10-12% is necessary for growth.


However, not every gym has the financial bandwidth to invest 12% of revenue in marketing, but every gym owner has control over how they invest their organization’s time.


Based on this concept, we will reframe how we think about the term ‘investment’ and look at it as both money investment and time investment.


Total Marketing Investment = Money Investment + Time Investment


So how do you invest 12% into marketing when you don’t have the resources to afford that?


Here’s an example…


1 – Let’s say you want to grow pretty aggressively, so you decide to invest 12% in marketing.


Total Marketing Investment = 12%


2 – Your business can afford to invest 5% of revenue in marketing.


Money Investment = 5%


3 – This leaves a 7% balance that you must account for in time.


(Total Marketing Investment = 12%) – (Money Investment = 5%) = (Time Investment = 7%)


4 – Let’s say your staff consists of you + 1 full-time employee + 1 half-time employee, your total available working hours per week is 100 hours.


Total Available Working Hours = (You = 40 hours) + (FT Employee = 40 hours) + (HT Employee = 20 hours) = 100 hours per week


5 – So according to our formula, 7% of time should be invested in marketing, so 7 hours per week should be scheduled for marketing activities.


Marketing Time Investment = 7% x 100 hours per week = 7 hours per week


These hours can be assigned based on your organizational chart, but they should be built into your organization’s weekly calendar on a recurring basis.


(And remember, marketing activities are activities to develop new leads, not selling existing prospects)


 Growth requires investment. Investing money might buy you some speed, but even if you can’t afford to ‘go fast’, you can still ‘go forward’ by investing your time accordingly. And now you have the 12% Marketing Investment Formula to help you make the proper allocations.

Fitness Revolution helps fitness business owners build and scale successful businesses they love running. Through Strategic Business Coaching, powerful tools and metrics, and live training events, FR is able to help these studio owners tackle their biggest, most pressing challenge. For more information, visit

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