73% of CEOs Think Marketers Are Not Effectiveness-focused

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I just read a fascinating global study on what CEOs think of Marketers, by the Fournaise Marketing Group. Some of the interesting findings for me are:

  • They keep on talking about brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters that their top management has great difficulties linking back to results that really matter: revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation (77%)
  • They focus too much on the latest marketing trends such as social media, because they believe they represent the new marketing frontiers – but can rarely demonstrate how these trends will help them generate more business for the company (74%)
  • They are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate (72%)
  • They bombard their stakeholders with marketing data that hardly relate to or mean anything for the company’s P&L (70%)

The average tenure of a CMO is still less than two years. largely because of the issues identified above. The responsibility for this gap is as much to the CEO as the CMO. If CMOs were surveyed they’d suggest that the CEO doesn’t understand or appreciate what moves a customer to purchase. There’s no right answer, but I believe for the CMO, the ideal profile is one that is ‘middle brained’. A person that focuses on metrics (and understands P&L) but doesn’t forgoe the creative side. CMOs should constantly be balancing the two, and determine strategy, tactics and priorities.

One Response

  1. Ted Grigg says:

    When I glimpsed at your headline, my first assessment is that I agree with the CEO. CMOs as a whole have lost track of the fact that strategies are not goals.

    In other words, by assuming that branding, top of mind awareness and great positioning are goals rather than strategies on how to achieve the goal have lost sight of the real objective.

    And what is that all pervasive goal that keeps the CEO up at night? “Make money now and do it efficiently.”

    CEOs are not convinced that the strategies used by their CMOs are necessarily the most effective way to go. They want their CMOs to think outside of that box and get real.

    CMOs used to have years to build a product’s reputation, name recognition and brand. Those days are gone for most organizations.

    Plan for the long term but make more money now while you’re doing it.

    I don’t blame CMOs for all of these off-focus thought processes. After all, with short tenures, CMOs are more risk averse than ever in a time when risk taking in marketing is essential to success.

    The bottom line has always been that CMOs do tend to fall in love with certain strategies and really do not do a good job with making their budgets more cost effective.

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