Contributed by Ron Marcus
ZUZA Marketing Cheerleader
We marketers have it tough. I recently discovered a survey conducted in 2011 by The Fournaise Marketing Group, a London-based consultancy. The research polled 600 CEOs and other decision makers from large corporations and SMBs across the globe. Disturbingly (but not shockingly), the survey revealed that “…73% of CEOs think that 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 organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share.” (Source: FournaiseTrack – Media Releases, June 15, 2011 – read the full release here >> )
According to the survey, the top gripes CEOs have about their Marketers include:
- Marketers emphasize measures of brand awareness and equity but don’t link them to revenue, sales, EBIT or market valuation.
- Marketers focus on hot marketing trends like social media but can’t demonstrate how they generate more business.
- Marketers increase Marketing ROI by cutting supplier costs instead of increasing marketing effectiveness in generating revenue.
- Marketers always ask for more money but can’t substantiate the additional revenue that will come from it.
- Marketers bombard stakeholders with marketing data that have nothing to do with the P&L.
- Marketers focus on the creative, artistic side of branding and marketing instead of thinking like business people.
- Interestingly, on the flip side, 69% of those surveyed believe their marketing campaigns do impact the company’s business, even if they can’t quantify it. And that’s the problem. We marketers are doing a crappy job of quantifying our positive impact.
It’s a Widespread Problem.
The survey confirms what you and I already know. Traditionally, there has been a disconnect between our efforts as marketers and our CEOs’ perception of the worth of our efforts. We as marketers can no longer rely on the explanation that as branders, it’s just harder to quantify the results of our efforts the way that our counterparts in sales, finance and operations can. Our free ride is over. We’re being taken to task like never before. Our exec teams and boards want hard numbers like they get from other departments.
The authors of the book Marketing Champions (©2006 by Roy A. Young, Allen M. Weiss, PhD and David W. Stewart, PhD, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) describes the same situation. Of the 2000 marketing executives they surveyed, 68% said that marketing is less or much less understood than other departmental functions, and 48% said that marketing is less or much less valued. Again, this is because traditionally, Marketing has not taken a robustly analytical approach to gauging its contribution to the bottom line. Is it any wonder that when companies reduce expenses, typically, marketing is the first to see its budget slashed
CMOs are getting the message.
Marketing Champions finds that the average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer is just 23 months, across a wide range of industries. It’s analogous to being the coach of a sports team. If the team isn’t winning, the owners swiftly bring in a new coach. Today, marketing executives are getting the message loud and clear.
In 2011, IBM released its first Global Chief Marketing Officer Study (you can download the results for free here >>) for which they surveyed over 1,700 CMOs worldwide. The results state that “CMO’s are struggling in one vital respect — return on investment (ROI).” Nearly two-thirds of the CMOs surveyed believe that ROMI (return on marketing investment) will be the primary measure of their contribution to the bottom line by 2015. Yet half of all CMOs feel unprepared to provide hard numbers.
What is the solution?
As marketers, our mandate is clear. Quantify, quantify, quantify. Our jobs depend on it. Fortunately, we live in an age of hyper-advanced research tools and rich analytics provided at lightning speed by online marketing vehicles. With some concerted effort we can formulate the KPIs we need to effectively measure our efforts, and determine the right sources of data to accomplish this. Here at ZUZA, the marketing team is making this a top imperative. As we research and develop our marketing analytics, we’ll revisit this topic regularly in this blog to help you with your own efforts. And, it’s a two-way street. We’d love to hear about your experiences and knowledge gained in this arena. Together, we can all be better marketers. In fact, if we do a good job of quantifying our efforts to our executive teams, we can show them just what kind of marketing champions we really are for our companies.