The excerpt below is part two from the Economist Intelligence Unit report, Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite.
For any leadership team, forging consensus on strategic priorities is a critical step towards building a successful business. However, a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey uncovered a disconnect between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite over marketing’s priorities.
Non-marketing executives – including the CEO, CFO, CIO, other functional heads and board members – see marketing’s top priority as driving revenue, by a wide margin over finding new customers (30% to 19%). For CMOs, however, marketing’s priorities are creating new products/services and customer acquisition; driving revenue ranks third.
More troubling, perhaps, is that no single objective captures a clear majority as a marketing priority, even among the CMOs themselves. These and other results suggest that for many organizations, marketing’s mandate is muddled at best:
- Cross-functional contribution. Who benefits the most from marketing programs? CMOs believe marketing is delivering significant business value to product development, followed by customer service and sales. Among the rest of the C-suite, those rankings are reversed, with sales seen as the primary beneficiary of marketing initiatives.
- Return on marketing investment (ROMI). Half of CMOs say marketing can track the value of marketing investments across different functions and channels, but fewer than 40% of non-CMOs in the C-suite believe marketing has this capability. The two sides also disagree on which metrics are best for tracking ROMI: The majority of the C-suite likes customer satisfaction, while sales leads are the top metric for CMOs. And while 54% of CMOs say their marketing investments outperformed those of their peers over the past year, just 41% of the C-suite agrees.
- Customer insight. More than two-thirds (67%) of CMOs say their company has a clear understanding of its customers’ tastes and needs, but just over half of their C-suite peers agree (52%). More than a quarter of CMOs believe they are the “voice of the customer” at their organization, while only 13% of other C-suite executives see the CMO in this role.
- Customer engagement. According to CMOs, the most effective channel for customer engagement is e-mail. The rest of the C-suite views face-to-face interaction as the best engagement channel.
- Internal barriers: Asked to list the barriers that most impede marketing’s ability to deliver more value to the organization, three emerge among C-suite respondents: marketing’s limited ability to demonstrate return on investment (ROI); difficulties in hiring skilled marketing talent; and marketing’s inability to turn data into actionable insights. CMOs’ top three barriers are: hiring and retaining talent, the lack of a strategic role for marketing and a limited ability to demonstrate ROI.
Reviewing these results, one can see the conundrum: CMOs believe they are constrained because the rest of the organization does not consider marketing to be strategic; the C-suite believes marketing has not earned the right to be more strategic because it is ineffective at demonstrating the value of its investments.
See the full report on the EIU site: Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite