Did you know?  74% of respondents feel that original content and media are most effective for generating marketing ROI.

Oct 19, 2011

If You Want the CEO’s Attention, Stop Talking Like a Marketer


A recent survey of CEOs found a vast percentage were frustrated with their company’s marketers and felt they failed to provide useful information about the role marketing plays in achieving business success.

The Fournaise Marketing Group survey, released in June, interviewed more than 600 large corporation and SMB CEOs and decision-makers in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The most telling disconnect? While 73% of the execs agreed that marketers lack business credibility and are not effectiveness-focused enough to generate incremental customer demand, 69% of the marketers Fournaise talked to feel their strategies and campaigns do make an impact on the company’s business, even though they can’t precisely quantify or prove it.

Some specific issues:

  • 77% responded, “They keep on talking about brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters that their top management has great difficulties linking back to results that really matter: revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation.”
  • 74% think, “They focus too much on the latest marketing trends such as social media, because they believe they represent the new marketing frontiers – but can rarely demonstrate how these trends will help them generate more business for the company.”
  • 73% agreed, “When asked to increase their Marketing ROI, they tend to understand it as cost cutting through better economies of scale or negotiations with their third-party partners and agencies, instead of top-line growth generation: more revenue, more sales, more prospects, more buyers.
  • 73% say, “Marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be: they are still too far from being able to demonstrate how the cross-channel marketing strategies and campaigns they deploy grow their organizations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share.
  • 72% believe, “They are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate.”
  • 70% say, “They bombard their stakeholders with marketing data that hardly relate to or mean anything for the company’s P&L” 
  • 67% think, “Unlike CFOs and Sales Forces, they don’t think enough like businesspeople: they focus too much on the creative, ‘arty’ and ‘fluffy’ side of marketing and not enough on its business science, and rely too much on their ad agencies to come up with the next big idea.”

Though we can dismiss the findings and conclusions as overly harsh, they clearly outline the need for marketers to act more aggressively in presenting marketing’s case to top management.

The Barriers Marketers Face

B2B marketers face a number of obstacles, though, in addressing these concerns:

  • Obtaining ROI-based measurements executives seem to be looking for (marketing ROI, cost per lead, cost per sale, value of the marketing pipeline, etc.) requires a great deal of effort and resources.
  • Maintaining a marketing pipeline analogous to the sales pipeline requires close coordination between the marketing and sales organizations, a frequent problem because of intramural rivalry.
  • Marketing automation systems and coordination with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be expensive.

The good news, however, is that costs have moderated for some marketing automation software. And management is beginning to express the desire, not only to better understand the impact of marketing, but also to use marketing forecasts to better anticipate revenue trends.

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