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With the growing complexity of marketing channels and the need for businesses to constantly adapt their strategies, managing marketing budgets effectively has become more critical than ever. In this interview series, we speak with CMOs and other marketing leaders who have significant experience in budget management and optimization, to share their “5 Ways To Manage Your Marketing Budget For Improved ROI.” As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Geoff Crain.

Geoff Crain

Geoff Crain

Geoff Crain is Senior Director, Sales and Marketing of Kingstar Media, one of North America’s top digital marketing/video production agencies. He has been in the digital industry for more than 15 years. He started on the brand side buying digital media for Johnson & Johnson and Coca Cola. He moved into the performance marketing space in 2013 where he worked for 6 years buying high volume digital media on a CPA/CPI/CPL for a variety of clients. In 2019, he joined Kingstar Media. In total, Geoff has purchased over $200M worth of digital media.


Clients have included Spotify, Google, Trivago, Match, Navage, Simply Fit Board and Copper Chef.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! To begin, can you share a bit of your backstory and how you got started in your career? 

I am a senior media professional with 12+ years of experience in planning, buying and optimizing offline and online media for some of the world's top brands. Experience includes performance media buying, strategic planning and analysis, cross-platform integration and optimization, project management, leadership, staff development and mentoring.

My expertise lies in purchasing and managing high-volume media campaigns across Google, Meta, TikTok & programmatic platforms. I have a deep understanding and experience in purchasing performance media across all advertising mediums including Linear TV, Radio, DOOH, CTV, SEM, SEO, Programmatic and Paid Social. Lastly, I'm passionate about people, collaboration, strategy & learning new things every day.

What are three strengths, skills, or characteristics that helped you to reach this place in your career? How can others actively build these areas within themselves? 

Persistence, resilience and determination. Anyone who is successful in Marketing has experienced a lot of failure. We plan campaigns for months that crash and burn after a week. We believe in concepts that we think are home runs and turn to be strikeouts. This is normal! You have to be resilient and understand that failure is a part of the job and be determined to believe in your strategy and skill set. Constantly strive to improve your processes and keep throwing things at the wall to see what sticks! 

What factors do you consider when allocating your marketing budget across different channels and tactics?

Where the target demographic is consuming content and how much budget does the client have. Marketers need to be realistic with the budget that is available and allocate it properly to the channels where the consumer is most likely to engage or respond. 

In your opinion, what are some common mistakes that marketers make when managing their budgets? How can they be avoided?

Allocating too much budget to just one tactic. Advertising can be very unpredictable and impacted by a variety of factors. Creating a fluid budget that allows for optimizations and shifts based on performance is necessary. This can be avoided by not locking in dollars to long term commitments with vendors.

When allocating your budget, how do you balance short-term marketing goals with long-term brand building initiatives?

A lot of brand goals can be achieved by exceeding short term, monetary focused goals. A brand that is successful financially has a lot of capital to invest in brand objectives. Focus on acquiring new customers and then retaining them. 

For start-ups and others with limited budget, what tactics do you recommend for the highest return and the fastest initial growth?

Facebook ads are the typically best channels for start-ups. Such an ad does not require a large up-front cost, is scalable and easily measured.

Rapid Fire Question Round

Rapid Fire Question Round

    1. What’s the biggest waste of money in marketing? Anything that requires a long-term commitment, over 3 months.

    1. If you had to put all your money into one tactic, what would it be? Facebook ads.

    1. What are you reading right now? Quantum Marketing by Raja Rajamannar.

    1. What product, tool, or service do you wish existed? Effective omnichannel campaign measurement. A tool that can accurately attribute one sale across multiple platforms.

How do you collaborate with other departments within your organization, such as sales or finance, to ensure alignment and maximize ROI from your marketing spend?

Weekly meetings and daily communication. If all teams are included in the initial launch phase and kept in the loop throughout the campaign, it creates a coordinated effort that maximizes ROI. 

What tips do you have to get buy-in from the CEO and the C-Suite when requesting additional budget for new projects or tactics?

Create a business plan or outline a strategy with a path to a positive return. Build the budget into phases so that the latter ones are only unlocked once the prior goals are achieved. 

Which marketing software in your tech stack do you feel is most worth the investment?

SpyFu. It is an excellent SEM listening tool that can help dictate strategy and budget allocation. 

Based on your experience and success, what are the five things marketing leaders should do to improve the ROI of their efforts?

1 . A/B test the landing page. A 1% improvement in conversion rate can lead to significant increases in ROAS. Marketers should be constantly testing the path to purchase to find areas for improvement. 

2 . Analyze LTV (Life-Time-Value). With the rising costs of media, acquiring a new customer is more expensive than ever. Marketers need to work hard to increase revenue after the initial purchase. Strategies for this include upsell offers, email drip campaigns and recurring revenue opportunities. 

3 . Customize creative for every channel. There is no one size fits all strategy when it comes to content creation for an omnichannel campaign. Marketers need to develop content that is fit for each channel. For instance, TikTok requires shorter content with a vertical orientation. While connected TV ads are longer in length and require a horizontal orientation. Marketers need to understand how the user is consuming their content on each channel and adapt the content accordingly.

4 . Implement data-driven decision-making. Utilize data and analytics to drive your marketing decisions. Leverage tools and technologies to track and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to your goals. Analyze the data to gain insights into what's working and what's not and use that information to make informed adjustments to your marketing strategies. Data-driven decision-making allows you to optimize your campaigns, allocate budgets wisely, and maximize ROI.

5 . Focus on customer experience: Providing an exceptional customer experience should be at the forefront of your marketing efforts. Happy and satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and brand advocates, which can lead to increased sales and improved ROI. Personalize your marketing messages, engage with customers on social media, provide timely and helpful customer support, and gather feedback to continually enhance the customer experience. By building strong relationships with your customers, you can foster loyalty and drive long-term business success.

Lastly, if you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to the most people, what would that be?

Give tax incentives to entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to start their own business. 

How can our readers best continue to follow your work online?

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.