Paul Howell
Jun 15, 2011

CEOs think marketers lack credibility : Fournaise

GLOBAL - 73 per cent of CEOs think marketers "lack business credibility" and are not the business growth generators they should be, according to damning research by the Fournaise Marketing Group.

Fournaise says CEOs and marketers aren't getting along
Fournaise says CEOs and marketers aren't getting along

The world's business leaders say their marketing departments are still unable to clearly demonstrate the bottom-line value of their campaigns.

Fournaise interviewed more than 600 large corporation and and small-to-medium enterprise CEOs and decision-makers in the US, Europe and Asia, as part of its 2011 'Global marketing effectiveness' programme.

It found several key issues still bugging the CEO-marketing relationship. The top six problems were:

  • Marketers continually talk in jargon, with concepts like brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters. Their top management has great difficulties linking these measures back to the results that really matter to them: revenue, sales, earnings or even market valuation (77 per cent of CEOs flagged this issue).
  • Marketers focus too much on the latest marketing trends such as social media, because they believe they represent the new marketing frontiers – but CEOs say they can rarely demonstrate how these trends will help them generate more business for the company (74 per cent).
  • When asked to increase their marketing return-on-investment, marketers tend to understand it as cost cutting through better economies of scale or negotiations with their third-party partners, instead of top-line growth generation: more revenue, more sales, more prospects, more buyers (73 per cent).
  • Marketers are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain to business leaders how much incremental business this money will generate (72 per cent).
  • Marketers bombard their stakeholders with marketing data that relate poorly to the company's core profit and loss metrics (70 per cent).
  • Unlike CFOs or sales teams, marketers don’t think enough like businesspeople. CEOs say they instead focus too much on the creative, "arty" and "fluffy" side of marketing and not enough on its business science. They rely too much on their ad agencies to come up with the next 'big' idea (67 per cent)

Fournaise further demonstrated the disconnect between marketers and their bosses by asking marketers about their own assessments of their impacts. While 73 per cent of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility and are not effectiveness-focused enough to generate incremental customer demand, 69 per cent of the marketers interviewed felt their strategies and campaigns did make an impact on the company’s business, even though they couldn't precisely quantify or prove it.

Jerome Fontaine, CEO of Fournaise, says it is up to marketers to change how they prevent their strategies in the boardroom. “Until marketers start speaking the profit-and-loss language of their CEOs and stakeholders, 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,” he said.

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