Marketing Dollars Migrate To Strange New Places

I like Tom Asacker’s writing so much I asked him to be part of the team here. But even that’s not enough Tom Asacker. For more we turn to a comment string on Brand Autopsy.

…there are many companies in the CPG industry who are indeed dabbling in the social media space, as well as investing heavily in R&D to innovate for their customers. However, traditional advertising drives the lion’s share of their business. To suggest they focus that investment elsewhere, without specifying where and what results to expect, doesn’t really advance the marketing dialogue, IMHO.

This was a repsonse to Brand Autopsy’s John Moore, who wrote:

I believe advertising in the sense of blasting commercial messages at consumers is dead. I believe more in spending marketing dollars to make the product/service better, not to make the advertising “better.”

My interest in picking this up here is to see where we can take it. Spending marketing dollars on non-marketing activities sounds kind of radical and I usually like radical, but perhaps not this time. Then again, if you were in the CMO seat and had the ability to help a sister in R&D out with some of your allocated marketing funds, why wouldn’t you?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. It’s a cool thought, but it’s probably not that simple. Even if you wanted to share some of your budget, you’d probably have to convince a lot of other people first, many of whom may have been part of the original budget allocation team. You also might be seen as meddling in other people’s areas of expertise while neglecting your own, since giving up some of your own budget could be seen as a cop out on your part. Not saying it might not be a brilliant move under the right circumstances, big picture and all. But I have a feeling a radical CMO needs to make sure they work for a radical company before throwing out anything too, um, radical. Otherwise things around the office could get political and nasty but quick.

  2. Spending marketing dollars on R&D? Corporate politics aside, that would be a smarter move than most companies would be willing to make.
    In this case, I’d look at it as the marketing department and/or CMO making an investment in the long-term success of that particular product, and as a result, the success of the company as a whole. That investment could pay off in the form of a better product, which makes the CMO’s and their marketing department’s jobs that much easier — a better product is easier to sell / promote / market than a mediocre product.
    In the end, yes, it is a self-serving approach from the CMO’s point of view. Spend a dollar today to save two tomorrow — that’s not necessarily a bad thing though.
    I may be trying to simplify it too much, but hey. Then again, why should we expect anyone at the CxO level to go and do anything that makes sense…