Marketers fail to impress CEOs

15 November 2012

LONDON: Over three-quarters of chief executives are dissatisfied with their marketing teams, primarily because of a failure to consistently demonstrate return on investment.

The Fournaise Group, the analytics company, polled 1,200 executives in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and discovered 80% of CEOs were "not very impressed" with their marketing functions.

More specifically, 70% of this audience said they might be "partly responsible" for the fact marketing units were "poorly perceived" in terms of the results delivered and overall reputation.

The two main reasons supporting this trend were that chief executives had "steadily lost trust" in the business performance of these departments, and thus "given up" on holding them accountable.

Elsewhere, an additional 67% of the CEOs that proved less than satisfied believed they had either not pushed hard enough to secure rigorous proof of marketing payback, or failed to do so at all.

"Whether we like it or not, what CEOs are telling us is clear cut: they don't trust 'traditional marketers', they don't expect much from them," said Jerome Fontaine, Fournaise's global chief executive.

"At the end of the day, marketers have to stop whining about being misunderstood by CEOs, and have to start remembering that their job is to generate customer demand and to deliver performance."

The major complaints from the corporate leaders questioned were that marketers lived in a brand, creative or social media "bubble" rather than prioritising vital business metrics.

As such, they often fell outside the "circle" of core decision-makers, like chief financial officers, chief operation officers and chief information officers, the analysis stated.

Indeed, a 64% majority of the CEOs unhappy with marketing teams had removed their responsibility for one or more duties from product development, pricing and channel management.

Among the 20% of organisations where marketers were performing well, they generally focused on proving their influence on demand and profitability while also cutting wasted expenditure.

Similarly, these category bellwethers had systems in place to determine sell-in, sell-out and prospect levels, alongside market share, marketing effectiveness scores and return on investment.

Data sourced from The Fournaise Group; additional content by Warc staff