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6 Secrets Marketing Professionals Need to Know about Marketing Spend Management

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

How to save costs and maximise efficiency through marketing spend management

Marketing professionals are always looking for ways to improve their budgets and streamline processes. This post will reveal some lesser-known tips that can help you do just that. From using virtual cards to manage campaign budgets to consolidating licenses and subscriptions and efficiently paying content creators and freelancers, we'll explore how innovative tools can revolutionize your marketing spend management. We'll also discuss how single-use virtual cards can simplify subscriptions, as well as cost-effective approaches to ad-hoc expenses and merchandise. Get ready to discover the secrets to smarter spending in your marketing efforts!

Use case

Let's walk through an imaginary scenario involving Acme Corporation. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has approved a yearly marketing budget of 50,000 Euros. The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is responsible for managing the budget spend of the marketing and social media managers. The CMO intends to run: three social media campaigns targeting different audience, a billboard campaign, production of merchandise, outsourcing copywriting for all content throughout the year

1. Virtual cards for budgeting

Marketing teams need to react quickly and run dynamic campaigns to capture their audience's attention. However, running out of budget at a crucial moment or waiting for approvals in lengthy purchasing processes can lead to lost momentum. Many marketing professionals currently use company purchase cards or just regular corporate cards for social media campaigns, but this approach has its downsides:

  • Only a few have access to such cards, and lending them to colleagues can result in compliance breaches, overspending, or using the card for unapproved campaigns.

  • Using one card for multiple purchases across various projects can create a nightmare with cost allocation, especially in larger companies where matching transactions to purchases can consume significant time and effort.

To prevent these problems, companies can utilise virtual cards. Each purchase request is assigned a virtual card, guaranteeing that you do not exceed the approved amount. Additionally, virtual cards can be seamlessly linked to the corresponding transaction, streamlining the reconciliation process. When selecting a solution, it is advisable to choose one that manages the entire process, encompassing approvals and reconciliation. This approach allows you to leverage virtual cards as an effective tool for budgeting campaigns.

Use case

The CMO reviews and approves every purchase order to ensure compliance with the budget authorized by the CFO. The social media managers each request a card with a limit of 5,000 Euros, for their individual campaigns. Once a card is fully utilised, the campaign and associated expense will cease. For the billboard campaign, the CMO submits a request for 23,000 Euros, which requires approval from the CFO as it exceeds 10,000 Euros. Fortunately, the CFO closely monitors marketing expenses and grants approval for the request since it falls within the allocated budget. Although graphic works are created in-house, the busy schedule necessitates outsourcing the copywriting for the billboard campaign. The marketing manager finds a suitable candidate on a freelancing platform who can complete the work for 1,000 Euros - the purchase request goes to the CMO for approval. The team's graphic designers utilize AI tools to automate some of their work. They pay an annual subscription fee of 2,000 Euros for these tools. The payment is made using a single-use virtual card, which is renewed and assessed on a yearly basis. Tote bags designed for merchandise from the previous year are available for reorder. The marketing manager has requested a virtual card with a limit of 15,000 Euros. However, upon reviewing the budget, the CMO realizes that fulfilling this request would exceed the approved budget. Consequently, the CMO adjusts the amount to a maximum of 9,000 Euros, which is within the remaining budget. The CMO also sends a message explaining the reduced amount, allowing the marketing team to decide whether to reduce the quantities to fit within the budget or cancel the request.

2. Paying content creators and freelancers

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of remote and freelance work, greatly benefiting marketing departments. Now, it is simpler than ever to delegate tasks like SEO, copywriting, and graphic design or even entrust entire marketing campaigns to agencies. These services can be easily obtained through online checkouts or, for larger projects, by contracting and invoicing. With an efficient spend management solution, requesting funds for outsourcing becomes effortless, thanks to the automated approval process. Virtual cards can be issued quickly, and invoice payments can be made promptly when contractors/suppliers provide invoices.

Use case:

The team decides to allocate the remaining 9,000 Euros to a blog post campaign. They contact a freelance agency and agree on a price. Since this agency is a new supplier, onboarding is necessary, even for a single invoice payment. This is where the invoice management feature comes in handy. The marketing manager can request an invoice payment just like they did with virtual cards. The spend management platform automatically performs the necessary due diligence checks to onboard the supplier and ensure compliance. This allows for timely payment to the freelancer while also adding the freelance agency to the platform, making it easily accessible for future use.

3. Manage subscriptions in an effective way

The use of subscriptions and recurring payments is currently at an all-time high and is projected to continue growing. For enterprises, effectively managing these services in a compliant and transparent manner is crucial. Having an overview of all active subscriptions and their owners makes it easier to consolidate different licenses. A robust subscription management system should offer the following features:

  • Simple requests for new subscriptions and recurring payments

  • Comprehensive overview of all active subscriptions and recurring payments

  • Clear visibility of total spend for each individual subscription

  • Easy access to transaction details

  • Identification of subscription owners

  • Simplified receipt collection

By combining these features, stakeholders can quickly make data-driven decisions regarding subscription management. If necessary, they can consolidate multiple accounts into a single one, resulting in cost savings for the organisation.

Use case

As previously mentioned, the team used to have separate subscriptions for their AI tools. They paid for these subscriptions monthly using recurring virtual cards. The CMO noticed that the team had three identical subscriptions and decided to consolidate them. The CMO found a business subscription that could accommodate up to five team members at a lower price. So, she purchased a yearly plan, invited her colleagues to join and cancel the individual subscriptions.

4. Social media campaigns

Running campaigns on multiple social media platforms is essential for almost every company. However, managing payments across these platforms can be time-consuming and difficult. Virtual cards can help with budgeting and can also be used for social media campaigns. By creating an ad account for each campaign, you can easily use virtual cards for each individual campaign. This gives you better control and transparency over your campaign spending. Virtual cards are locked to specific campaigns, so they can't be used for anything else. This makes it easier to collect receipts and match transactions with campaigns.

Use Case:

The social media team has been tasked with running three campaigns: two on LinkedIn and one on Facebook. Each campaign will run for two months. The team has requested three recurring virtual cards for each campaign and has successfully launched them.

5. Premium Linkedin accounts

LinkedIn has become a valuable platform for connecting professionals and sourcing talent in the job market. It offers numerous opportunities for advertising, recruiting, and content sharing. LinkedIn offers many extra features through its premium subscriptions. Virtual cards provide control and cost savings by ensuring spending won't go over budget due to forgotten, forever-running subscriptions or employee changes.

Use case:

The marketing manager is planning to go on maternity leave and needs to find a replacement through LinkedIn. They upgrade the manager's profile to recruiter premium access to facilitate the recruitment process. They begin searching for a replacement six months in advance to ensure a smooth transition. After calculating the best value, they request a recurring card with an amount sufficient for six months' payment. The manager goes on leave but forgets to cancel the subscription before leaving. Fortunately, the limit on the virtual card prevents any further charges, saving costs for the company.

6. Conferences

Connecting with industry leaders is crucial for marketing professionals. Conferences, fairs, and conventions offer great networking and business development opportunities. Managing ticket purchases, booth rentals, and merchandise procurement within budget can be made easier with an end-to-end process and virtual cards.

Use case:

The company has identified a valuable opportunity for lead generation and recruiting at an upcoming conference. The marketing team has been tasked with ordering tickets, securing a booth, and arranging merchandise. They have calculated the expected number of participants and the cost of the booth, and have placed the order on the conference's online portal. They have also requested a single-use card for payment. The supplier for logo pens also accepts online payments, so another payment request has been placed. All of these expenses are within the marketing budget and have been approved by the CMO. Once the transactions are completed, the managers receive notifications to upload the receipts. With a simple drag-and-drop action, all of the purchases are reconciled.


In conclusion, marketing professionals can benefit from implementing various strategies to save costs and maximize efficiency in their marketing spend management.

  • By utilizing virtual cards for budgeting, marketing teams can ensure they do not exceed approved amounts and streamline the reconciliation process.

  • Paying content creators and freelancers becomes effortless with an efficient spend management solution that automates approval processes and enables timely payments.

  • Managing subscriptions effectively is crucial for enterprises, and a robust subscription management system can provide a comprehensive overview of all active subscriptions and recurring payments, resulting in cost savings.

  • Virtual cards also prove useful for social media campaigns, providing better control and transparency over campaign spending. Additionally, virtual cards can be used to manage premium LinkedIn accounts, ensuring spending remains within budget and preventing unnecessary charges.

  • Finally, conferences and events can be managed more efficiently by using an end-to-end process and virtual cards for ticket purchases, booth rentals, and merchandise procurement.

By implementing these strategies, marketing professionals can revolutionise their marketing spend management and achieve smarter spending in their efforts.

Mazepay is an all-in-one long-tail spend management software that enables the seamless control

of all subscriptions, from approvals to payments. Get in touch today to find out more and gain control over your marketing spend.


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