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What Does "Scalable" Mean When it Comes to Marketing?

Here at Left Hand Agency, we talk with a lot of businesses about making their marketing strategy scalable.

But what does that really mean?

In a nutshell, scalable marketing means your strategy can grow with your company without requiring a commensurate increase in resources (most often human resources).

Let’s break that down even more.

Imagine you are the owner of a small sandwich chain with just three locations and you unveil a new sandwich special. In order to promote it you decide to get a sign and twirl it out front of one of your locations. It works! Your sandwich sales for that store are up $50 a day and you only invested $50 to print the sign.

But there’s a problem.

This is not a scalable strategy. There is only one of you and you can’t be at all three locations at once. If you decide to do sign twirling at each location it will require hiring additional employees and printing additional signs. Any increase in scale of this strategy will have diminishing returns.

A non-scalable strategy is common for new businesses.

Most often, new business owners will engage in grassroots marketing and networking to get word of mouth out because they can’t afford a large marketing budget. These methods are absolutely necessary and usually very effective. But, they are not scalable.


  • You will reach the end of your rolodex (remember those?).

  • You will run out of time (and energy) for networking.

  • You will be pulled into business operations and away from marketing duties.

You need a plan that will help grow revenue without taking more of your time.

Scalability in marketing is important to discuss early and often. Ideally, as your business grows a scalable marketing plan will allow you to put the same or less percentage of your revenue into advertising and have the return on investment stay stable.

Not all scalable strategies involve paid advertising.

Think about strategies that are automated, like developing a referral reward program, creating a loyal customer program or growing an email subscriber list. All of these are tactics that require the same amount of effort regardless of how many customers you reach. Even posting daily to social media channels is a scalable strategy in that your organic reach will grow over time, while your posting cadence stays the same.

For paid media, a scalable advertising plan does not mean you won’t add budget to your advertising plan. It does mean each additional dollar spent should achieve the same or better results than the prior dollar. In theory, it should also mean the system behind that additional spend isn’t being made from scratch each time.

As you are having discussions with your in-house marketing team or agency partner, ask yourself how your strategy would be impacted if you scaled it up. The scale can refer to your audience, your locations, your ad budget … you get the picture.

If a tactic can’t be scaled up it doesn’t necessarily need to be scrapped, but you should adjust your expectations.

Want to chat with us about scalable marketing strategies? Drop us a line!

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