Let me tell you two things about digital marketing spenders - A. they want to have control and transparency when it comes to the allocation of their marketing budgets all the time and B. they hate the end of the month stress with the finance team when everyone expects them to drop off their work and start collecting, sending and matching invoices. Believe me I know that because I am one of them.
Thankfully, nowadays there are plenty of tools that can help marketers keep track of their spend and simplify invoice collection. The following article is dedicated to marketers who operate budgets in several marketing channels, have access to one or more business cards that are specifically tailored for marketing purposes, including high-limits, different currencies, naming etc., and are linked to an expense management tool. Pretty much living in a perfect marketing world.
If you happen to manage several marketing channels, you know that there are two common ways to pay. You either “prepay” or get a “monthly invoice”. The “prepay” option usually means that you should add a credit or debit card to serve your ads. Often start-ups and SMEs don’t have any other choice but to prepay since the biggest advertising platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook or Bing) would imply a minimum marketing spend requirement to qualify you for monthly invoicing. In the second case, you accrue advertising charges, and then get a bill at the end of your billing cycle every month. The following tips apply to the first use case.
Tip 1. Often it makes sense to use different cards for different channels in order to differentiate and compare performance. So let’s say you run ads on Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you can simply use a card for each channel. That way you can allocate spending limits for each channel directly on the cards and you’re ready to go. By naming your cards respectively, you also make your finance team’s life easier, in case you forget to include details about the transactions going out from each card.
Tip 2. If you don’t feel the need to have a card for each channel then bundle them. Use dedicated cards for the bigger channels, read with the bigger spend, and bundle the other marketing activities together. You can have a separate card for Google Ads and one for all Social Media channels for instance.
Tip 3. For marketing teams who operate in different countries, we recommend you to pay attention to the currency the ads account is set up with. If you run ads with let’s say Outbrain in the UK and get billed in GBP, use a card in GBP. That way you also save on transactional fees - good for you and for your business.
Tip 4. For higher amounts, aways use virtual cards. It’s not very well known, but virtual credit cards are actually more secure than their plastic equivalent and аre therefore pretty convenient when you’re spending more money. Unfortunately, not many banks offer this option, but expense management platforms like Payhawk do.
Tip 5. Try to verify your ad account ASAP so that you don’t get billed for every 100 € spend. Even with the most modern tools, you will have the hassle of uploading all invoices at the end of the month. Thankfully there is already an option to do this at once, at least with Payhawk.
Tip 6. Leave one card for “Others”. In marketing there are always costs that you don’t plan on doing. And I am not only talking about tools such as ad servers or VPN clients. I mean the iStock images that you quickly have to secure for the next newsletter or the McKinsey CMO survey that you want to include stats from.
When you use several corporate cards for marketing purposes, it can get messy if you don’t organise them to serve your marketing mix. First, have a look at how your marketing strategy is structured - is it channel by channel or is it depending on countries/currencies. Then, have a look on how high is your spending overall and per channel/country/currency. Your marketing cards structure should reproduce exactly that and align with your marketing goals. Oh, and it's also absolutely recommendable for modern marketing agencies, too, who not only serve several channels, but also clients. Good luck!
Tsvety is the creative force behind Payhawk's product marketing initiatives. She's dedicated to shaping our brand's image, refining messaging, and orchestrating our go-to-market strategy. Beyond her strategic role, she unwinds with a love for exquisite food, finds solace in yoga, and explores the world, fueled by a passion for live music experiences.