CEOs Distrust Marketing Depts., Cite Financial Disconnects

While chief executives rely on and value the work of their CFOs and chief information officers, there is a decided lack of confidence on the part of CEOs in the work being churned out by marketing departments.

That’s according to a new study from London-based research firm Fournaise Marketing Group.

Marketing departments have always had a tough time getting the same kind of respect from the boss as sales departments and other units linked directly to company profit centers. That’s a large part of the reason that marketers and their ad agencies have focused so intently on ROI issues in recent years.

The new Fournaise study indicates that marketers still have a long way to go to get the full backing from the company officers at the top of their organizations.

The study found that 80% of company leaders don’t trust and “are not very impressed by the work done by marketers.” By comparison, 90% of those polled said that they “trust and value the opinion and work of CFOs and CIOs.”

The findings come from Fournaise’s 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, for which the firm interviewed 1,200 CEOs or equivalent decision makers throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

What accounts for the lack of trust?



The study found that 80% of CEOs believe marketers are “too disconnected” from the financial realities of companies. Nearly the same percentage of corporate leaders said they believed that marketers “too often lose sight of what their real job is,” which is to generate more customer demand for products and services that can be measured by key metrics, such as increased sales volume and revenue.

Most CEOs in the business-to-consumer sector believe that marketers “now live too much in their creative and social media bubble and focus too much on parameters such as ‘likes,’ ‘tweets,’ ‘feeds,’ or ‘followers’ -- the very parameters they can’t really prove generate” more business, the report concludes.

To earn greater trust, the study asserts that marketers must focus more heavily on sales metrics, market share and so-called “marketing ROI,” which is defined as “the correlation between marketing spending and the gross profit generated from it.”

The study also found that more than 70% of CEOs believe that B-to-B marketers “are too distracted and sucked into the technological flurry related to system integration, funnels, processes and scores.” Technology is a “support tool” that these CEOs believe “does not create demand per se.”

Per the report, the CEOs believe that demand is created by “accurate strategies and campaigns pushing the right products, product benefits, content and customer value propositions.” Many marketers seem to have forgotten that, said a majority of the polled CEOs polled.

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