Marketing Spend Allocation: A Buyer's Handbook

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Deciding when, where, and how you spend your marketing budget is one of the most important decisions marketers make. Too often this is being done inefficiently in spreadsheets.

Marin offers a great solution to manage this process and improve the return on your marketing investment. As think you think about moving beyond spreadsheets, we recommend starting with answering these important questions to find out what matters most to your team:

Evaluating Your Ecosystem

  1. What are all the platforms that hold your campaign data (Google Ads, Meta Ads, Amazon, etc.)?
  2. Where are the places you're currently tracking conversion, revenue, and customer data (Google Analytics, Salesforce, HubSpot, CDPs, etc.)?
  3. What additional first-party or business data do you need to combine with your marketing data (promotional calendar, mass media investments, inventory, pricing, competitive intelligence, etc.)?
  4. How mature is your current budget allocation process (See our guide here)?
  5. What are the primary challenges facing your performance marketing team (e.g., spend less time reporting, increase growth, improve efficiency)?
  6. How does your team currently share metrics with other teams and leadership?

Evaluating Marketing Mix Solutions

Platform and Integrations

  1. Does the platform automatically collect data from ad platforms via API or do you need to upload cost and spend information manually?
  2. How often does the platform refresh data?
  3. What analytics, reporting capabilities, and insights on performance does the platform provide in-app? 
  4. Can it auto-populate data in tools like Excel, Google Sheets, or BI platforms?
  5. Can the platform ingest allocation recommendations from other MMM systems?
  6. Does the platform support multiple budgets or strategies to support different funnel stages, lines of business, or geographies?


  1. Does the platform show you estimated conversions and revenue at different levels of spend?
  2. Do the forecasts factor in day-of-week, day-of-month, and day-of-year seasonality automatically?
  3. Do the forecasts understand and incorporate your marketing and promotional calendar?
  4. Do the forecasts adjust for diminishing marginal returns on increasing ad spend?
  5. Do the forecasts adjust for Impression Share for relevant channels?
  6. At what level are the forecasts built (e.g., Channel, Campaign, Creative, Keyword)?
  7. How long do the forecasts take to run?
  8. What forecast periods are available (e.g., monthly, quarterly, custom)?
  9. Can you specify a spend and efficiency (e.g., ROAS or CPA) target?

Activation and Pacing

  1. Are you able to act on the recommendations in the platform or do you need to implement changes manually?
  2. How often does it update your settings?
  3. Does the platform visualize how you're pacing against the target spend?
  4. Are there alerts to let you know when you've gone off track and should take action — either to capitalize on the positive or mitigate the negative?

Key Considerations When Buying a Marketing Mix Solution

  1. Does the platform automatically pause campaigns when they've reached the target spend?
  2. Does the platform automatically roll over your unused budget to the next period?
  3. Does the platform adjust your campaign budget and target settings at the ad platforms to keep you on target?
  4. Can you provide rules or constraints to customize algorithm?
  5. Does the platform allow you to manage a large number of small budgets at scale?

Analytics and Optimization

  1. Does the platform enable you to easily ask questions of your data?
  2. Does the platform offer in-app visualizations of the data?
  3. Does the platform offer scheduled reporting?
  4. Does the platform offer customizable dashboards that can be shared with clients and stakeholders?
  5. Does the platform support the ability to define custom metrics
  6. Can the platform automatically roll-up data (e.g., pivot tables)?
  7. Does the platform automatically provide customized recommendations for campaign optimization, account structure, budgeting, and more?

Business Considerations

  1. What are the platform's pricing models?
  2. What kind of professional support is available to assist with things like integrations and strategic consulting?
  3. How does the platform cater to agencies managing multiple clients?
  4. What security measures are in place to safeguard your data?

By answering these important questions, you can ensure that you select an tool that is well-suited to your business needs, is user-friendly, and can provide you with the insights you need to make informed marketing decisions.

Marin's Solution

In the crowded market of performance marketing platforms, there are a few key players worth considering. Let's take a look at how Marin stacks up against its competitors.

Marin vs. Competitors

Marin stands out as a comprehensive planning tool for performance marketers that can handle data collection, preparation, storage, analysis, reporting, forecasting, optimization, and automation in one platform. 

It supports multiple data sources, provides flexible currency conversion, and offers robust historical data for simplified year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter analysis. Marin also provides advanced features such as revenue tracking, optimization, and budget management.

Marin is an open, flexible platform that can easily consume data from any source, including analytics platforms, call tracking solutions, attribution systems, or internal data warehouses encompassing data from across all your marketing channels. 

Advertisers can see deep into their purchase funnels, connect offline sales to online advertising, and optimize to customer lifetime value across search, social, and display publishers. 

With Marin, cross-channel advertisers can take advantage of a unique, proven, and flexible revenue management framework to help them leverage their first-party data to improve insights and boost cross-channel ROI.

For marketers, data collection is just the first step, then it has to be organized and stored in a way that makes it accessible and actionable. This requires the use of advanced data management tools and techniques, such as data warehouses, data lakes, and data modeling.

It’s important to note that your organization’s data collection techniques need regular review and optimization. You should continually make adjustments to ensure that you're gathering the most relevant and useful data possible.

Marin is all about data — from input to output. First, it ingests your business data from multiple sources, including your analytics, CRM, product feed, and offline conversions. Then it links the data all together and processes it. Finally, Marin allows you to use built-in dashboards or push the data out to your BI tool, so you have the data when and where you need it. The best part is that it's all done for you at onboarding, making it easy and seamless for you to leverage your data to drive performance.

It's difficult to make sure you're optimizing your budget across all your platforms using real-time data from across your customer lifecycle, but Marin is here to help. If you want complete confidence in your next paid media investment, it's time to experience the anxiety reduction Marin delivers today. Reach out to us to learn more.

Now you know your options for better optimization of your marketing investment. If Marin’s the right choice for your team, reach out to us to get started today!