Commentary

Financial Marketing Is Accelerating

Now that the leaves at the bottom of the old gypsy's teacup indicate that the 2008-09 recession is in reverse, it's time for us to accelerate the synergy across the disciplines of finance and marketing.

Will things return to normal in 2010? If our idea of normal includes the notion that marketers manage their discipline as a cost, then no, that's no longer normal. This kind of thinking has long been in decline, and the recession has hastened its obsolescence. Especially entering a positive economic cycle in 2010, CMOs must absolutely lead their corporations in generating profit and growth. Marketing is no longer a cost center; it's a profit-and-growth center.

If, however, our idea of normal includes the notion that finance becomes more of a critical co-discipline with marketing, then yes, that's normal and is, in fact, accelerating. If there's anything we should've had reinforced to us over the last two embarrassing years in business, it's the importance of high-integrity finances. Marketers now stand in even greater appreciation of their stalwart partners, the CFOs.

An Adapted Set of Concepts and Measurement Tools

When marketing was a cost center, these two corporate leaders, CMOs and CFOs, often stood in conflict. However, now that marketing is a profit and growth center, the CMO and CFO are fast becoming aligned.

As part of this alignment, an adapted set of concepts and measurement tools have emerged. These allow the CMO and CFO to speak the same language. Here are some examples:

Traditional Financial Concepts           
Adapted Financial Marketing Concepts
Return on Invested Capital Return on Invested Customers
Shareholder Return Marketplace Return
Products in Service Customers in Service
Unused Inventories Un-sold Prospects

What a great time for an economic recovery! The CMO and CFO are now able to work closely together, to manage their customers as assets.

There Are Cycles, and There Are Permanent Changes

Oftentimes, even inevitable changes will unfold slowly, during growth periods in the economy. The rising tide keeps even leaky boats afloat.

When there's a downturn, however, inevitable changes often accelerate. We saw this vividly during 2008-09, when a long-inferior U.S. auto industry finally fell into bankruptcy.

The increased synergy of marketing and finance, described above, is an inevitable change. We may have seen some marketing linger as cost centers as late as 2007, but, exiting the 2008-09 recession, CMOs can no longer manage their discipline as a cost. Similarly, exiting the recent recession, the CMO and CFO can no longer work in conflict. The concepts and measurement tools are now firmly in place for the CMO and CFO to work together as one, in driving corporate profit and growth.

We call this Financial Marketing, and it is accelerating heading into 2010.

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2 comments about "Financial Marketing Is Accelerating".
  1. Gray Hammond from Quire , December 23, 2009 at 9:49 a.m.

    CFO has power/influence, CMO has not. CMO must learn Financial terms; CFO doesn't have/want to learn Marketing. Your patented "ratios" won't fly.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 23, 2009 at 11:34 a.m.

    CFO's really need to know their own business from the bottom up. Just because it's less expensive to make both arms of the shirt different lengths doesn't mean it's going work well for the bottom line. An analogy, ladies and gents, an analogy.