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.