Internal vs. External Marketing Spend (Video)



So, let me ask you a question. Be honest with me. Do you think that the executive team at your company knows exactly how the Marketing team is spending the company’s money? Would you be able to go in front of your Board or your CEO or your annual Shareholder meeting and explain, in detail, how those Marketing dollars are getting spent without getting some serious challenges and it getting really uncomfortable?

Here’s the thing. We as Marketers, we understand that there are a lot of players that are taking pennies off the dollar when we advertise. We understand that there’s typically multiple agencies involved. One for creative. Maybe a media agency buying the ad space. Maybe somebody else that’s doing some pieces and parts of your measurement. And we know that there’s a cost for the publishers and platforms that run the ads. Maybe there’s programmatic partners – the DSPs and SSPs of the world that get fees for making the market that brings buyers and sellers together. There’s probably some waste in there – some fraud, some non-viewable inventory. If you’re smart, you’ve invested in a verification provider that mitigates most of that – but we have to pay them too, so there’s that. Again, though, do you think all of that is crystal clear to your executive leadership?

I don’t. I don’t think that the people making budget decisions in most companies have any idea that, for every dollar that you’re putting into paid media, you’re only getting sixty or maybe seventy cents worth of value. It’s kind of a black box and it’s a closely held secret that the industry is all complicit in because it’s what funds what we do. It funds the whole ecosystem. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s not a better way to spend those dollars. Look, I love paid advertising as much as any marketing or media guy out there and I realize that it’s necessary and powerful. Cleaning it up and getting more transparency – that’s another topic for another day. But why wouldn’t you start with investing in capabilities that you own? Infrastructure that pays off for this year and years to come? People that can do the heavy lifting from inside your organization rather than resources at a bunch of partners along the supply chain?

I think we’d probably all agree that, in a world of constrained resources, that’s likely a better use of your money and something that’s going to be easier to explain and defend if you ever got asked to do so.

Brent Bouldin

Partner & Co-Founder | New Media Advisors

Brent Bouldin is a Partner and Co-Founder of New Media Advisors. Previously, Brent was Head of Marketing, Media and Customer Acquisition at Choice Hotels International and led the Digital Marketing and Media Center of Excellence at Bank of America. Brent has held strategy consulting roles at Deloitte Consulting and Ernst & Young and served as the Chief Strategist at He has led Digital and Social Committee of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and has a seat on the North American Board of Directors for the Mobile marketing Association (MMA).

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