How to Protect Against Marketing Fraud

John A. Quelch
Harvard Business School
William D. Wilson
Marketing Productivity Audits

Marketing Expenditure is growing faster than ever before, fuelled by corporate growth objectives that seek to launch new products, reach new customers, penetrate new channels and expand into new geographies. Marketing is a $450 billion industry. Media advertising expenditures alone reached $250 billion in 2004 in the USA, equivalent to almost $1,000 per capita. Major marketers such as Ford and General Motors spent more than $3 billion each in 2004. Procter & Gamble spent almost $5 billion.

Many question whether marketing is effective and delivers value for money. Equally important is the threat of marketing fraud and whether marketing expenditures are properly and sufficiently audited. In a climate of tighter governance, with the Sarbanes Oxley Act requiring that the CEO and CFO sign off on the company accounts, it is essential that boards and top management have confidence in the integrity of marketing expenditures.