Pinterest’s B2B marketing lead: ‘Following the money’ is key to making the case for investment

Being able to demonstrate the revenue-generating potential of any proposed spend is essential to convincing key stakeholders to invest in marketing, says Pinterest’s Grace MacDonald.

“Following the money” is the best way to prove the worth of any marketing investment to stakeholders in the business, according to Pinterest’s B2B marketing lead.

When it comes to making the case for investment in areas like data, or even a bigger team, to internal stakeholders, marketers must be able to demonstrate the incremental revenue opportunity for each piece of investment, said Grace MacDonald, Pinterest’s business marketing leader for EMEA, speaking at the DMA’s Customer Engagement Conference earlier this week.

At Pinterest, the chief revenue officer consistently requests that team members preparing an investment proposal determine the potential financial returns the expenditure could generate. MacDonald suggested that this practice likely applies to most businesses, emphasising the importance of assessing the incremental revenue potential prior to engaging with stakeholders. “Following the money is one of the best ways to get these things through,” she said.

But with so many sources of data available to marketers, simplification and unification is key, MacDonald noted.

“You can end up with all these fragmented datasets that you can’t really merge together or you don’t know how to merge together,” she warned, adding that marketers should work to ensure they know all the datasets they have and get them “speaking together”.

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She also urged marketers to get up to speed up on data regulation in the markets they operate.

MacDonald went on to speak about the importance of marketers knowing who they want to target with their datasets.

“You shouldn’t be in a situation where you’re over-targeting and going too niche. That’s not going to bring results,” she said. “On the flip side, if you’re too wide, you’re going to get a lot of wastage, so it’s about finding that balance.”

With the forthcoming deprecation of cookies, Pinterest, like many other social media platforms, has been moving away from allowing brands to target consumers through “basic” demographics, MacDonald said. Instead, it is enabling more behavioural-based targeting, such as lookalike models.

Pinterest is a platform where many brands come to build awareness. MacDonald noted that, amid the cost of living crisis, advertisers on the platform are seeing users behave slightly differently to how they’ve done in the past.

For example, in the luxury sector, consumers might be buying less big ticket items like handbags; however, they are still spending on smaller treats like lipsticks. MacDonald said brands should pay attention to these “micro-sectors” to work out where to invest and where they can acquire customers.

They should also view their advertising “holistically”, she said. A customer might not be ready to buy the bag right now but perhaps in three years’ time they will be, meaning brands should be thinking more broadly about how they can reach consumers in different states.