I was reading some news today from the ad:tech conference and read that while some chief marketing officers sitting on a panel were hesitant to reveal their online marketing budgets, Eloan spends $20M and Purina sets aside 5-7% of their budget for interactive marketing.

I learned a few years back during my Fortune 200 days that large brands should spend between 5-10% on online marketing. But does this apply to the small business owner? Sire, but you might want to consider shifting more money online.

Online marketing can be very cost effective if a campaign is properly run and the proper media is bought. Small businesses can get a lot of exposure from marketing online, and I would encourage most small businesses, especially small online retailers, to shift more of their media spending online.

One thing from the ad:tech panel stood out -- most companies use outside firms to manage their online marketing. Why? Companies do this so they can keep a "skeleton" staff in-house and contract experts to manage the campaigns. Whether you're a large company or a small company, having a pro to manage your marketing efforts is good marketing practice and makes good financial sense.