Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Marketing Accountability: The Bottom Line

The number of self-professed experts on marketing ROI is astounding. Ask one of them for greater detail and the number quickly and dramatically decreases.

I recently wrote an article entitled "The Bottom Line on Marketing Accountability" that suggests a real-world solution for marketing accountability. Just in case you don't feel like reading the article, I'll provide a short summary. The idea that there is a "one size fits all" solution is incorrect. Even some of the marketing-world's most respected marketing ROI calculations may not be accepted by the CFO. Consequently, the most effective solution is for the top marketing executive to forge a relationship with the CFO -- and possibly the head of sales, depending on organizational structure -- whereby they together determine the key marketing measures, how they will be monitored and who will monitor them. This solves two problems, employing measures that matter to the organization and gaining buy-in from the CFO.

Think this is too obvious? Consider that the majority of top marketers don't do it. A couple of years ago, I was speaking to a senior consultant for one of the largest and most prestigious branding consultations. I asked him the percentage of brand valuations his firm does where the CFO is at the table and buys-in to the valuation. He said CFOs are only there 10% or less of the time, and they are often very skeptical. For a process that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and is a financial valuation, I am astounded that any marketing executive would go through this without the CFO's buy in. In fact, I wouldn't invest a dollar in it until the CFO bought into it. After all, when your the CFO presenting to the C-level, who do you think the CEO is going to turn to and ask, "What do you think of this?" Too often, the charge for marketing accountability comes as a criticism from the CFO or CEO. With budgets being more scrutinized than ever, marketing must lead the charge for marketing accountability within the organization, as well as the charge for internal collaboration and sell-in that it will take for marketing to gain the respect marketing deserves.


Anonymous said...

I am so surprised that you have received no comments on your marketing accountability article. I think this might be symptomatic of the "ostrich effect" in its full glory. My company does marketing effectiveness modeling, but still find that few corporate types will take the leap to imbed an accountability process in their organizations. It usually takes a CEO to move the needle. It is interesting, that if you surveyed CEOs today on how well they understood marketing returns what you would get. Here is the question.

In your organization today, how would you describe your understanding of the returns to marketing?

1. We have that one nailed
2. We know a lot of answers but not all of them
3. We have a fuzzy idea, but nothing specific
4. We don't have a clue what it is

My suspician is that even today, #4 would be the clear winner.

denjae said...

I certainly agree with the first comment. Not having a clue is more the case. Many org's, sorry to say, and some of them are clients, use the wild and wooly method of shotgunning it! WOW, really. Yes, cuz they think they know their product, their customers and naturally the market. While we always ask for a little budget to develop the strategy and measure that; the response many times is they don't have the time, money or interest to follow up. Dear L--- , bless us, guide us and send us another client - fAST.