Marketers don't understand ROI

10 April 2014
LONDON/SACRAMENTO: The majority of marketers lack proper training in marketing performance and marketing ROI, with many unable to demonstrate the real financial outcomes of their work to board level decision makers, according to new research.

The Fournaise Marketing Group, a marketing performance measurement company, interviewed more than 1,200 top-level management and marketing executives around the world and also measured the effectiveness of more than 2.5 million B2C/B2B marketing strategies, campaigns and ads, and came up with "four head-shaking results".

It said that two thirds of marketers (67%) showed a complete failure to understand ROI by thinking that it did not require a financial result.

A similar proportion (64%) said they used brand awareness as their main KPI, while 58% put 'Likes, 'Tweets', 'Clicks' and/or 'CTR' in their top five marketing ROI KPIs. Almost one third (31%) were simply measuring the audience they reached and calling that figure marketing ROI.

Given this picture it was perhaps unsurprising that 63% of marketers did not include any financial outcome when reporting on and presenting marketing results to their CEOs and top management.

The Fournaise Marketing Group further claimed that more than 80% of marketers had been unable to unable to write a profit and loss account and a balance sheet correctly when given a simple business scenario.

They were all at sea with the language of finance and accounting and incapable of showing how marketing affected the business's results.

Jerome Fontaine, Global CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise, identified two problem areas, both centred on education.

First, most of the marketing degrees and diplomas being taken around the world did not have any specific training in this area. Second, even though marketers were well-educated, more than half had qualifications in a field outside their current work and had failed to acquire a knowledge of marketing techniques and formulae.

"In other words," he said, "every Tom, Dick and Harry is a marketer, lacking the scientific and financial knowledge necessary to inform and optimise the creative side of marketing."

As long as that situation continued, he argued that marketers would "struggle to demonstrate to CEOs that they are not 'money spenders who jump on (and hide) behind the latest fads and blow smoke', but [are] real business generators".

Data sourced from Fournaise; additional content by Warc staff
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