Why Marketers Are Fiduciaries for Ad Spend.

Start early and max out your 401k contributions, they said.

So you did.

Now, a 40-page packet arrives every quarter with an overview of your entire net worth and its most recent performance. Quarters quickly turn to years and (to your delight) your portfolio continues to grow. Now, at the advice of a new advisor, you begin to move assets into increasingly more aggressive allocations. You’re not retiring anytime soon, right?

A good financial advisor will act prudently and diversify your plan’s investments in order to minimize the risk of large losses. In fact, a financial advisor who acts as a fiduciary and does not follow the principles of conduct knows they can be personally liable to correct any losses to the plan.

If you’re not careful, one day, it could be all but gone—with nothing to show for all that lifelong discipline.

Similar stories happen every day in advertising.

Marketers are responsible for managing advertising budgets while also maximizing them to their fullest potential. They’re provided with capital and a charge to leverage that investment to benefit the business. Yet, they don’t have the visibility to make informed adjustments so that the investments they are managing can yield the most benefit possible.

Before working on advertising intelligence software, I worked for a fiduciary-standards advocacy and education firm. We built software that gave fiduciary investors peace of mind that a certain standard of care was being met with their clients’ portfolios. A scoring system would evaluate investments on nine different criteria across a spectrum of quantitative data points to determine if the investments were on track.

When I moved into the ad tech space, I realized that there were many similarities between the two industries. However, the one glaring difference that stood out to me is that people who manage media dollars aren’t legally required to do what’s best for their clients. As a result, the tools at their disposal and their sense of urgency to demand them are severely lacking. We’d never give our money to a financial planner knowing they don’t have the proper tools to act timely. Why would we expect marketers handling budgets to do the same?

It’s shocking to me that in 2021, marketers simply don’t have the right tools to skillfully manage advertising investments. In the world of digital advertising, data is currency. The problem is the currencies are not equal. Day after day, marketers spend loads of time doing spreadsheet gymnastics in order to unify the data in an apples-to-apples environment so they can determine if the investment is on track.

Financial planners have higher-level tools at their disposal. They can make sound decisions because they have the right level of information at the right time, that’s the reason most of us put one hundred percent of our financial trust into the person managing our portfolios.

When marketers have near real-time unified data at their fingertips they are able to skillfully interpret the data and make strategic decisions or data-backed recommendations. Changes also come in how they report back to stakeholders. Instead of looking back at the end of a campaign period and piecing together a story based on educated guesses of what happened, throughout the campaign marketers can showcase how informed decision-making leads to a stronger portfolio of advertising investments.

Gone are the days of blindly trusting and accepting that the occasional catastrophic error is just part of it. Those who proactively manage advertising data stand out from the crowd, and they deliver what every advertiser is hungry for—actionable insights.