Do Marketers Have Any Credibility?
In a recent survey, almost three-quarters of CEOs think marketers lack credibility. And according to the report, we’re not helping ourselves either.
Now before I detail the survey findings, let me say that I agree that quantifying results is a challenge for the majority of marketers. And I think it needs to be solved with a two-tiered approach.
First, I think we need to quantify every marketing effort and use our knowledge, courage and leadership to tie all of our efforts to business outcomes in the form of new demand, higher sales and more profitable customers in both the long and short-term.
Second, I believe marketers need to own the customer experience. This will help marketing to gain a seat at the leadership table by creating a positive company reputation in the marketplace, by representing customer demands and through the articulation of our company’s value proposition.
The survey conducted by the UK-based Fournaise Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 CEOs from the US, Europe, Asia and Australia in both large and small companies. The group reports that 73% of CEOs say marketers lack credibility due to an inability to translate the results of marketing campaigns into outcomes that improve business performance such as new demand, sales, customers, or market share.
This is compounded by the study’s result that 69% of the marketers actually agree that they cannot translate the result of their marketing efforts into quantifiable business value.
Some Additional Findings of The Survey:
- 77% of CEOs believe marketers spend too much time talking about brand value and brand equity vs. revenue, profit and growth.
- 74% of CEOs believe marketers are too focused on the latest trends such as social media and are unable to show how these will generate more business for the company.
- 72% of CEOs believe that marketers often request additional budget but cannot tie that increase to additional revenue or profit.
- 70% believe marketers use lots of data to support their campaigns – none of which relate to the P&L.
- And 67% believe marketers don’t think enough like business people by focusing too much on the “arty” or “fluffy” creative side of marketing.
I agree with Jerome Fontaine, the CEO of Fournaise, in his assessment:
“Until Marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of all their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand, they will continue to lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs and will continue to be seen more as a cost centre than an asset.”
I had a friendly Twitter exchange on this topic yesterday with Philippe Winthrop (@biz_mobility) where we accepted that there are some marketing activities that are hard to quantify in the short-term. We agreed that marketing needs to work harder to quantify the results of these efforts into hard P&L numbers, even if the results are more long-term or hard to gather.
Mike Gospe (@mikegospe) explains in his blog and new book about why Marketing should take the “high ground” (and a seat at the leadership table) in this debate by becoming an advocate for our customers:
The marketing high ground represents a special place where you know the market so well, so deeply, that you become the customers’ advocate. With this knowledge comes confidence in gathering and interpreting market data so that the best product, service, and go-to-market decisions can always be made.
Mike goes on to say that Marketing needs to drive this approach across an aligned workforce and then it will earn and even command a seat at the leadership table. (Sounds great to me!)
So how do we solve the challenge that CEOs think marketers lack credibility? For me the answer is:
- We need to act (more) like business people and find a way to quantify every single marketing dollar, resource and effort. We need to stop focusing on marketing activities and focus on business results that include new sales, higher profits, more customers or greater market share.
- We need to own the voice of the customer and drive these insights across the entire organization.