The Advancing Leadership Blog

The Disconnect Between CEOs and Marketers

With the rise of social media, digital marketing and big data, it’s obvious that marketing is in the midst of a transition. What is not clear however is if CEOs or their marketers fully understand what’s going on.

After interviewing 1200 CEOs in 11 different countries, The FournAise Marketing Group released a study which found that 80% of CEOs had lost trust in their marketers. 73% of CEOs think Chief Marketing Officers “lack credibility” and do not generate the business growth that they should. Further, 78% of CEOs believe ad and media agencies are not performance-driven enough, and are not focused enough on quantifiable business results that affect profits and losses.

It’s important to keep in mind that The FournAise Marketing Group is a company that provides marketing analytics solutions and ‘ROI marketing’. They don’t exactly have an interest in suggesting that CEOs are happy with marketing’s status quo, and it’s unclear how rigorous and scientific the study is.

“This points to a disconnect between what CEOs are expecting from their marketing departments and what marketers are providing.”

But if it’s accurate, this points to a disconnect between what CEOs are expecting from their marketing departments and what marketers are providing. One belief is that CMOs are too caught up in the latest trends in marketing. Take social media for example:

Social media is something which any company can do, but not all companies do right. Social media marketing has to be strategic, and designed to help sell your company’s product or service, not just accumulate the most retweets and shares. Furthermore, if a company is regularly updating Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+, this can require a full time staff member. For many companies, it may not be the case that social media is bringing in enough additional revenue to pay that person’s salary.

Of course, as points out in their breakdown of this study, the other 20% of CEOs are satisfied by their marketers, which means some marketers are getting things right. The FournAise Group suggests that marketers who are focused on analytics and attribution will provide better ROI for their companies.

Some agencies are succeeding too – in this example, direct advertising agency MRM Meteorite created a customer loyalty and e-marketing program for British coffee chain Costa Coffee. This loyalty program has increased customer’s frequency of store visits, and the amount spent per transaction. Costa Coffee is beginning to roll out the program in other countries as well, so they’re clearly very satisfied with their agency’s work. There is also a proliferation of marketing analytics companies which can help you model your marketing spending and attribute your sales to each of your different advertising media.

How do you feel about your company’s marketing efforts? Does your marketing department provide quantifiable gains for your business? Or are you cutting your marketing budget because it’s not performing?

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