Marketers failing to prove worth

28 November 2012

LONDON: Marketers view their own responsibilities and capabilities much more favourably than senior executives from other business units, a global study has revealed.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, the insights group, and SAS, the software firm, polled 389 business leaders, and found 19% of marketers thought boosting revenues was their top priority, as did 30% of the panel representing alternative disciplines.

Although 22% of marketing professions agreed they should focus on creating new products, this fell to 9% among other contributors. Such figures hit 15% and 14% in turn for entering untapped markets, but reached 20% and 21% for finding new customers.

Equally, while 27% of marketers believed they were the "voice of the customer", a 33% share afforded this role to the head of sales. These totals stood at 13% and 27% respectively for non-marketers.

When asked who would ideally assume this position, however, just 26% of CMOs accepted responsibility, whereas 32% of participants from different functions said that this should be an area they led.

Half of marketers also stated they were able to track the payback from their activities, but only 40% of the sample from across the broader corporate structure saw this statement as accurate.

An additional 55% of CMOs reported that they had outperformed their peers in this space during the last year, a rating declining to 41% among the executives working in other areas.

In keeping with this trend, fully 67% of communications experts thought they clearly understood customer tastes and requirements, dipping to 52% elsewhere.

Perhaps most surprisingly, a small majority of 53% of CMOs enjoyed a "lead role" in formulating marketing strategy, while 25% were "key players", some 20% were "consulted" and 3% had "no role".

"Many CMOs say they are not getting the support they need from the rest of the C-suite, which apparently doesn't feel their pain," the study said. "But even more seem to be questioning their own abilities."

As such, around half of marketers admitted they did not possess the relevant skills to undertake a more strategic role, and 46% thought there was a "disconnect" about what they needed to deliver.

For 28% of CMOs, a lack of support from senior management when it came to making investments hindered their attempts to add value, a view only held by 17% of other professionals.

Data sourced from Economist Intelligence Unit; additional content by Warc staff