The recent ISBA/IPA survey showed clearly that ensuring marketing’s business effectiveness is no longer the remit of marketing alone. It is a shared responsibility which potentially brings together finance, data analytics units, customer service, sales…

That means legacy silos have to be broken down, greater collaboration has to become the norm, and there has to be up-front alignment on what success looks like.
And the resources, operating structures and talent have to be in place to support the shift.

This cultural change can be a positive force, and a number of companies were progressing, with 15% of respondents rating their current culture 8 or 9 out of 10.

Unfortunately, the survey showed that for many, there was ‘good intention’ within the business, but the practical reality was lagging behind the objective. That said, they remain optimistic, with 75% thinking that by 2020, they will be at least an 8/10. This means over 60% expect a 2 point positive increase in their marketing effectiveness culture, within the next 18 months.

However, such is the scale of the challenge, it is not likely to be achieved ‘bottom up’, nor by the well-intentioned efforts of marketing, working by themselves to drive this transformation.

When the survey asked the participants to identify both the barriers and enablers to achieving a marketing effectiveness culture within their current company, the role of the CEO, the board, senior management was cited time and again- as both a driver and a brake.

Board level focus on, and belief in, the business contribution of marketing was pivotal. Numerous verbatims mentioned the positive impact of CEO driven restructures, creation of integrated effectiveness units, of the board’s management commitment to monitoring marketing’s impact.

Marketing metrics and financial metrics have to align. The C-suite have to take decisions which reflect a belief in the sustainable business value created by marketing.
If the optimism of our respondents is to become reality, then marketing, marketing finance, ISBA, IPA, all industry bodies, have to unite in their efforts to demonstrate to CEO and their management teams, beyond any doubt, marketing’s business contribution. To take the arguments, the white papers, the case histories into the boardroom.
Only then will business start to structure itself around ‘marketing effectiveness’.

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Written 22nd October 2018
By Libby Child