How marketers can win CEO's support
In many financial institutions marketers continue to battle against perceptions of marketing as the “colouring in department” and as a cost rather than a growth driver. In this article from the Financial Services Forum, Michael Richards, MD of alan. agency discusses how marketers can win CEO's support.
In many financial institutions marketers continue to battle against perceptions of marketing as the “colouring in department” and as a cost rather than a growth driver.
It can be difficult to demonstrate the correlation between marketing investment and results, and with budgets often hanging in the balance, it is imperative that marketers find ways to prove that their efforts are effective.
A big part of the challenge is in speaking the right language, the most important being finance.
For every pen portrait or brand awareness campaign presented in a gloriously designed powerpoint deck, there is a CFO/CEO saying: “That’s very pretty, but what does it mean to the bottom line?”
If financial services marketers want to prove their worth, and get their budgets, they must talk the language of the boardroom; moving away from marketing jargon and being laser-like on business impact and value creation.
The marketer that truly understands the P&L and talks with confidence on impact on EBITDA, is more likely to find an interested audience than one who fails to focus on the numbers.
While it’s unfair to characterise marketers as ‘the colouring in’ department, it’s also unfair to characterise CFO’s and the boards as ‘bean counters’. The smart marketer makes the CFO their best friend, asks for their help, taking time to show that the A to Z of marketing isn’t always a linear route, but the destination is worth reaching.
As a marketer, it might be blindingly obvious to you that the great customer brand videos you’ve created are good marketing spend, but the board will need proof, such as X% of customers search on their mobiles for information on the services you provide and that brand videos are Y% more likely to hook them in.
Boards like numbers. It’s a fact. So marketers should agree metrics and KPIs up front – including lead generation, sales, talent retention, competitor tracking and brand health. Likes and followers are fabulous, but only if they come with a tangible and provable business value. Marketers are awash with data, and they should not be afraid to share it, but in one language and one voice around the business.
Marketers are taught to put their audience at the heart of what they do, but they should never forget their internal audiences.
An analytical approach to marketing doesn’t have to mean an end to the creativity required to touch people’s emotions and elicit behaviour change (buy from us!). Instead data can support creative by defining when and where marketers should target audiences and with which messages and what value will be achieved. And once the marketing team and board are speaking in one language and one voice – well, that’s when the really game-changing ‘colouring in’ can begin.