Study: CEOs say that marketers lack business credibility

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It is a harsh statement. It is a statement that undermines the value of leading marketers in the world. But it comes from their bosses: CEOs.

A majority of CEO’s believe that marketers lack business credibility. And it is not only that… Marketers are not the business growth generators they should be and are not focused enough on effectiveness. This is the key findings of a recent report „2011 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program“ by Fournaise Marketing Group. The report interviewed over 600 large corporation and SMB CEOs and decision makers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US.

Nearly three quarter (73%) of CEOs believe marketers are not able to demonstrate how their cross-channel marketing strategies and campaigns help to increase their organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, sales, prospects, conversions and market share.

However these findings sound like a slap in the face of marketers, the study makes also clear that vertical metric set-ups are still a challenge for companies. 77% of respondents admitted that they cannot connect EBIT, market valuation or revenues to marketing facts like brand equity, brand values or other marketing ROI metrics.

The study claims that 74% marketers rely too much on the creative element of their job, ‘arty’ and ‘fluffy’ thoughts and too much on their ad agencies to come up with the next big idea. I would like to add that very often publishers make up a lot of these ideas but appear to stay in second line to the client. Just a quick hint to CEO’s…

In some of my latest projects in the last five years, I have seen marketers asking for many and very detailed reportings. The interesting thing is that 70% of CEOs see marketing data marketers provide is hardly useful, or relate to or mean anything for their company’s P&L. Obviously, 69% of marketers say that their campaigns and strategies have an impact on business – but cannot precisely quantify.

“Until marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand, they will continue to lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs and will continue to be seen more as a cost centre than as an asset.”
Jerome Fontaine, CEO, Fournaise

Spot On!
For me one of the main interesting topics is that 74% of CEO’s find that marketers focus too much on the latest marketing hypes (i.e. social media 74%) without explaining the real value it brings to the business. In order to generate ROI, very often marketers are starting discussions with third parties or agencies about latest trends and then jumping on them immediately without even thinking about the ROI it might bring to the business – instead of focussing on where main revenue streams are coming from.

Now, the funny thing is that probably most of marketers won’t comment on these findings, I assume. Although it would help all marketers to start discussing now…

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17 Kommentare zu "Study: CEOs say that marketers lack business credibility"

  1. Traci Browne am 16.06.2011 12:48 

    I think the article is spot on. My suggestions to everyone in marketing is take your CFO out to lunch and find out and make sure you understand exactly what would make her happy. Ask a lot of questions until you are certain you know how to present your projects in ways that would make her happy. If your CFO is satisfied with your formulas then the rest of the team will be as well.

  2. Bryan Saunders am 16.06.2011 22:10 

    Agreed! With all of the technologies available today, marketers have no excuse: they should be able to communicate how well their marketing campaigns are working.

    Marketers should be able to say what kind of return-on-investment all of their marketing activities are having.

    Ideally, this would always be expressed in a dollar amount but that isn’t always possible. In those cases, marketers should be measuring other metrics like increase in brand liking, brand awareness…

  3. Sven Blaukat am 17.06.2011 10:43 

    I agree! But noticed that in a lot of cases it´s just the other way around: CEOs get pressured by the media with buzz words and hypes – then expect the marketers to modernize their marketing activities, without asking for strategy or ROI. This sometimes leads to acting for the sake of acting = lame results.

  4. Main Reasons to Attend Marketing Conferences « Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov am 17.06.2011 15:34 

    […] results. Then it has a truly positive ROI in my eyes (hence, a good reason to be there). Just as 74% of CEOs I believe that a hype is always a wrong thing to spend time on. As marketers we always want to […]

  5. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 17.06.2011 15:38 

    @Tracy: Very much like your personal touch on internal relationship management as I would call it. Marketers tend to forget their feeding hands in times of social online conversation…

    @Bryan Agree, metrics and numbers need to be connected and aligned to C-level speech and business plan numbers.

    @Sven Well obeyed. However, if CEO’s pass on the pressure to their marketers, marketers should be able to push back and ask why and how. If they cannot justify their work, I doubt it was not successful…

  6. Study: Social Media and Advertising – The next hype for marketers…? am 02.08.2011 10:41 

    […] with the expectations and targets set before the Social Media activity started. At least if they don’t want to lack business credibility in front of their […]

  7. 2012: Think Social Business, live Community Centric Strategy am 23.12.2011 08:16 

    […] ROI aspects are still key for Social Business performance. Nevertheless CMO’s were often lacking the right plan even for their Social Media efforts – and often CEO’s doubt their business credibility. […]

  8. Edelman Trust Barometer 2012: CEOs down, Social Media getting better… am 25.01.2012 11:43 

    […] interesting for me were two things… How are people trusting CEO’s after CEO’s criticized their marketers some month ago in a study by the Fournaise Marketing Group. And also, how are consumers worldwide […]

  9. AJ Perisho am 25.01.2012 16:01 

    The stats help support what I have been preaching for years, as marketers we must be able to measure what we deliver.
    If it cannot be measured, why waste the money?
    This obviously upsets the creative types who want an open check book to „Build the Brand“, but it’s reality.
    Don’t get me wrong, creative makes it better. Let’s just make sure we know what the marketing is doing from a results stand point.
    For business owners and CEO’s, quit basing your decisions on the agency you hire, on a pretty presentation!
    If you truly want results, then work with someone who is of the same mindset. Not necessarily the most creative looking presentation.

  10. Ed Youngblood am 26.01.2012 14:23 

    Great question in response to a very thought provoking article and study. Many well made points and there is certainly truth to some of the CEO perceptions. Marketing must take a more businesslike approach to measurement and results. CEOs and CMOs must also recognize and respond to the fact that current marketing structures and processes evolved to support traditional 20th century marketing media and tools. They are no longer functional in a digital world.

    Brand equity will always be difficult to measure, but program, campaign and cross-channel effectiveness is not. Not anymore. The data, tools, and resources exist and are maturing. But the digital world has changed consumer behaviors (B2B and B2C) dramatically and most organizations have not adapted to these changes.

    As for the 74% or responses that creative is too heavily relied on, in my own opinion it is more important than ever, not only in message and engagement, but also in problem solving. The problem is that most organizations don’t measure and evaluate what is working and what is not. Measure, analyze and adapt. Too many marketing activities are best defined as “one and done”.

    @Tracy makes a great point – clearly defined KPIs. CEO & CFO must be agree on measures and goals, and for B2B businesses, Sales must also be at that table.

  11. Martin am 26.01.2012 15:01 

    @AJ THX for commenting with some great and common perspective which I have experienced in the ad industry as well. Creative can be a catalyst but it can never substitute the engine that drives the targets: KPIs based on USPs as defined by all areas of the business.

    @Ed Good input. As you can see from my comment, we need to make sure all departments are on the same page which means that we need to think our process well through all touchpoints in our business – and ideally the results will sum up in revenue…

  12. Paul Travis am 31.01.2012 01:23 

    Thanks for sharing this report — I’d not have heard about it otherwise.

    I think one of the key things this brings up is the difference between simply „selling more“ and PROFITABILITY…

  13. Discontent CEOs Blame Marketers — Level 5 Blog am 23.02.2012 22:27 

    […] The study in question, the 2011 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program , reports that almost three-quarters of CEOs feel marketers lack credibility. More than that, they […]

  14. Terry Carney am 08.04.2012 10:16 

    Some great comments added here and I must agree with most. Being focused on sales in my career and with my marketing head on, I must say it is about marketing effort to sales return. I work with clients to increase their sales, I do this through creating a marketing mix with each part linked to reporting. From social media, to targeted advertising in a trade publication, to blogging and appearing at trade show. They all have clear ways of tracking. They all support one another as the foundation to building a better business. Present this to your CEO or business owner with proven case studies and you will have a very different attitude. Far too many marketers are reliant on trends and creatativity not delivery.

  15. How to detect the ROI of Social Media am 06.07.2012 09:37 

    […] Sie einen Kommentar Tweet Remember when we found some statistics by the Fournaise Marketing Group that mentioned how weak business credibility of marketers in the eyes of their CEO’s is? […]

  16. Edelman Trust Barometer 2013: Facing a leadership issue. am 22.01.2013 21:44 

    […] truth. Business CEOs ended up second to last with 43% only. So, it is not only the marketers that lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs internally – externally the CEOs seem to be the people – employees, customers and […]

  17. State of Marketing 2014 Report: Social Media and Video Ads up, Mobile down, Programmatic low at 1% am 22.08.2014 11:08 

    […] to some previous study, this years CMO Council’s “State of Marketing” (sponsored by NetBase and Infor) […]

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