The Great CEO – Marketers Disconnect

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Grant Whiteside

It is the question that has been on the cards for far too long; Why can’t marketers convince CEO’s that their multi channel marketing activities actually work for them in a way that is demonstrated by real business performance indicators. CEO’s like to see evidence that is demonstrated in P&L language; revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation, rather than marketing metrics like Share of Voice, search engine positions and likes. In short; all the fluffy stuff like brand values and brand equity simply don’t convince the vast majority of CEO’s that marketers have the credibility to prove that their efforts can generate business growth or lead generation.

Are the latest marketing trends in social media actually demonstrating how they attribute to creating more sales? According the Fournaise Marketing Group, 74% of an audience of 600 CEO’s feel that their marketing agencies are not adequately providing them with evidence they need to convince them social media does create more sales. The general feeling is marketers are trying to prove a point that the new frontiers of marketing need to be tested and monitored before they can actually prove their worth.

Increasing ROI? We’ve all been asked to do it. 73% of the CEO’s surveyed think that when they asked the marketing team to increase ROI, the initial response was to decrease marketing spend rather by negotiating 3rd party and agency rates than to look toward increasing sales leads, greater basket values and repeat sales.

Other favourite CEO gripes about marketing people include: 72% of CEO’s think that marketers always ask for more money but rarely demonstrate the incremental growth that a marketing initiative may give to the bottom line of the companies P&L. 70% of CEO’s think that marketers bombard their board with useless statistics that don’t demonstrate how it will affect profitability or growth.

We’ve heard from the CEO’s, while 73% of them thought marketers lacked business credibility and are not focused enough on effectiveness, 69% of marketers from the same Fournaise Marketing Group survey thought their work on strategies and campaigns did provide an impact on the bottom line; even if they can’t prove it. This is the great disconnect between CEO’s and their marketers.

Until marketers start providing metrics that are aligned with a company P&L, they’re still going to be hitting brick walls. Marketers need to be tracking the business effectiveness of all their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand. Marketers are a long way off gaining credibility in the eyes of CEO’s, but this will not happen until the culture of organisations change. Every call needs to be tracked, all data sources need to be aligned and technical brick walls need broken down if they are to prove their point. There are lessons to be learned on all sides, a CEO cannot complain about a marketer trying to do their job if basic elements of online and offline tracking and attribution are not invested in. Technical, Marketing, Sales and Finance all need to play their part if this disconnect is expected to be banished as a problem of the past.

If this is a problem that sounds painfully familiar, then drop us a line, we talk in languages that most people in a business understand to try and avoid the marketers disconnect.