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BizReport : Research archives : June 15, 2011

CEOs think marketers too "fluffy" and not business-minded

Marketers may feel their cutting-edge creative campaigns and strategies are working, but CEOs are skeptical of their business credibility and ability to focus on the bottom line.

by Helen Leggatt

Fournaise_Logo_2.jpgThat's according to a new survey from The Fournaise Marketing Group that found CEOs see marketers more as cost centers than assets, thanks to their inability to adequately track and report the business effectiveness of their marketing activities.

They don't feel marketers are amply able to demonstrate how the campaigns and strategies they develop and execute impact on what really matters - sales and revenue.

In fact, the biggest bugbear among CEOs (77%) is that marketers concentrate too much on branding parameters, such as brand equity or brand awareness, which they and other top level management find difficult to link back to hard results.

"Until marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of all 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 center than an asset," said Jerome Fontaine, CEO and Chief Tracker at Fournaise.

And there's something else that CEOs are dubious about - all the new marketing trends that marketers jump on, including social media. Why? Because according to three-quarters of CEOs, marketers can rarely demonstrate just how those new tools will generate more business, let alone provide measurements of effectiveness.

Here's what else bugs CEOs about marketers:

- They often ask for bigger budgets, but can rarely justify the spend by demonstrating how much additional business will be generated (72%)

- They don't speak in a language that stakeholders understand, preferring instead to talk in terms that don't relate to the bottom line (70%)

- Marketers tend to increase ROI by scaling back on third-party and agency costs rather than focus on increasing top-line growth (73%)

And for a final dig, over two-thirds of CEOs think marketers are too "fluffy" and "artsy", preferring to dream up the next big thing with their ad agencies rather than focus on the less flamboyant business aspects of their function.

The above findings are the result of interviews with more than 600 large corporation and SMB CEOs and decision-makers in the US, Europe and Australia.

Tags: business, business insights, marketing insights, marketing professional, marketing strategy

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  • That sentiment among CEOs, unfortunately, is why marketing is often the first thing to get cut when times get tough. CEOs and stock holders think in terms of the bottom line and profit margins. Most marketers look beyond that into branding and customer engagement. It's up the marketers to learn what they need to do/say to convince the CEOs that their efforts are valuable.



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