Faaez Samadi
Mar 12, 2019

Plugging the disconnect between finance and marketing

Although CFOs and CMOs are still somewhat misaligned in terms of goals and mutual trust, the distance between them is shrinking, according to exclusive research by Campaign and Kantar.

Campaign's survey finds a gap in the relationship between finance and marketing
Campaign's survey finds a gap in the relationship between finance and marketing

The ease of the relationship in which finance and marketing staff interact within a company remains a complex issue for both departments, but there are signs of progress, shows Campaign Asia-Pacific and Kantar’s exclusive research into ‘The Business of Marketing’.

The scale of disconnect between the two departments remains a significant problem, the starkest evidence of this being that only 25% of finance people surveyed said that the marketers they work with are 'very much aligned' with their financial goals. In a world where margins are constantly squeezed and ROI is the constant refrain echoing in all boardrooms, this remains a troubling finding for marketers.

Digging deeper, the survey finds some room for optimism, as 45% of respondents felt their marketers were 'somewhat aligned' with their financial goals. However, 15% still felt that marketing was 'not very aligned' and, perhaps most tellingly, only 15% said their marketers were more aligned than they were two years ago. This implied lack of progress, given that two years in the digital advertising space can equate to almost a generation in terms of change, highlights the work many marketers still face in getting their finance-minded colleagues to believe in their strategies and, more importantly, their investments.

A further reflection of finance departments' scepticism is that 55% of those surveyed believe procurement should be involved in marketing investments from the outset, to manage costs. The ‘p’ word is often followed by a groan and roll of the eyes from most marketers and agencies, but as the department responsible for ROI and effectiveness, it’s not hard to see why CFOs want them in charge of the shopping basket. This statistic is also supported by the finding that 80% of respondents said their CMOs have partial autonomy over the marketing budget, with just a fifth saying their marketing heads have full control.

However, there are some reasons to be cheerful. 75% of finance people surveyed said their marketing budgets will stay the same next financial year, while 20% plan to increase theirs. This indicates that while there remains misalignment over ROI and goals, the majority of financial leaders trust their marketing departments to continue driving business.

A related point of debate in the marketing and finance argument has been measurement, with many in finance not seeing how marketing metrics tie into business results. But with 55% of finance respondents saying they are happy with the metrics being used to measure marketing effectiveness, marketers are clearly improving in their use of data and analytics to focus on business metrics that make sense to their CFOs.

Moreover, when asked how much value finance people find in marketing to achieve overall corporate objectives, the respondents were split down the middle, with 50% saying 'high' and the other 50% saying 'medium'. This may not seem particularly impressive, but having half of financial leaders say they believe in marketing is a strong position from which to develop and tackle the remaining gaps in the relationship.

While such statistics indicate a level of trust in marketing from finance, it’s far too early to pop champagne corks. Allied to the previous finding is the following: just over a third (35%) of respondents said marketing objectives were not met in the previous financial year. Moreover, a further 20% said they did not have enough information to answer, illustrating the work marketing folk still have to do in proving their value to CFOs.

The results of this survey by Campaign and Kantar, which questioned over 200 professionals from across the marketing industry in Asia including CEOs, CFOs, marketers and agency staff, were presented live at Campaign360 2019, Campaign's flagship marketing conference in Singapore. To find out more about the event and read our reports on the news and opinions gathered, visit campaign360.asia


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