A new report from the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising establishes a framework for B2B marketers to build trust with the finance division of their organisations for more effective marketing and greater influence.

Finance is, naturally, crucial to marketing: it controls the budget, it judges how the value of marketing is measured, reported, and rewarded in an organisation. Despite this, most people, and many marketers, tend to focus on the alignment of sales and marketing, given their similar area within a business. A new report from the IPA sets out to challenge this.

Marketing to the CFO: The way back to VALUE for Marketers, is a playbook that seeks to establish the basics for adopting – in partnership with finance – shared objectives, language, and metrics to measure the value of marketing.

Researched and written by Fran Cassidy, a world-leading marketing effectiveness researcher, who has done extensive work on the topic of building bridges with finance. In this report, Cassidy trains her crosshairs on the B2B sector, where significant doubts surround the value of building a brand over the long term, and around the discipline of marketing more generally.

Some background: the report acknowledges how over the last decade, marketing has lost control over three of the four levers traditionally available to it, with product, pricing and placement absent, leaving marketers relying on pure promotion. As a result, this report’s aim is to restore some of the lost strategic influence to the marketing department.

Image source: IPA

Meanwhile, it also recognises the profound changes to the CFO position as one that now drives performance as well as reporting on it.

“By now controlling several of the levers that enable effective marketing performance, such as data, analytics, strategy and pricing, finance practitioners have moved into many of the gaps left by marketers as they shifted to focus on communications” in the context of digital fragmentation, the report states.

The playbook breaks down five areas of the VALUE framework:

Value: understand how value is created for the organisation and also for customers, with a particular focus on how the brand (and its building) contribute to this over the long-term in order to articulate this to the CFO/finance team.

Accountability: Being taken seriously means being transparent to the organisation about the metrics of value creation in order to maintain respect for the discipline and build trust.

Language: Move away from marketing terminology and toward building a relationship based on more convincing discussions about the business. Marketers have insight skills and ought to use them to improve how they communicate internally.

Understanding: This is about scaling an understanding of how effective marketing contributes (along with other levers) to commercial objectives across the organisation. Financial literacy, as well as the aforementioned language, is crucial here.

Evidence: Empirical evidence and value-based metrics, agreed upon with finance, are at the core of establishing the above, and are crucial to understanding the contribution to commercial objectives. Evidence must be fundamental to marketers, and it should be sought for difficult non-digital metrics, rather than just fast-response metrics.

Sourced from the IPA