Marketers often have a challenging relationship with their colleagues in finance, as those in charge of budgets generally don’t like taking risks.

If you couple this with the difficulties of creating watertight measures of ROI and attribution then it’s understandable that CFOs might see marketing as being a bit fluffy.

Research by Econsultancy shows that problems are exacerbated by differing views on how important marketing is to driving sales and revenue.

Around six out of ten (59%) marketers believe that marketing directly drives more than 20% of their company’s revenue, compared to fewer than four out of ten (38%) finance directors.

Kristof Fahy, CMO of William Hill, remarked:

There is still a disconnect where an organisation can have several versions of the truth. I’ll be given different sets of figures from different teams that all paint different pictures. 

But at the end of the day we are a FTSE company where the MD has to be able to stand up and justify a set of numbers. A single version of the truth is what we need and where we can struggle on a bad day.

The research also showed that while 77% of marketers agree that ‘marketing is a critical function within our business’ just 62% of finance directors feel the same way.

And nearly half of marketers (49%) agree that ‘in recent years, the role of marketing has expanded to include more strategic and financial responsibility’ compared to just 36% for those in finance.

The threat of disruption

Econsultancy’s research also suggests that CMOs and CFOs have very different views about the ways in which digital is changing their industries. 

Nearly six out of ten marketers (58%) agree with the statement ‘our organisation is reinventing itself due to digital disruption’. By contrast, only 36% of finance directors feel the same way.

This could of course be explained by the fact that digital has had a more profound effect on marketing than on finance.

However separate research by IBM shows that CFOs who work for ‘outperforming’ companies show a greater focus on restructuring and business model innovation than their counterparts in ‘underperforming’ organisations.

CFO focus in ‘outperforming’ and ‘underperforming’ companies

As a look forward to what marketers should be concentrating on in the future, HSBC’s Chris Clark shared his three main areas for improving the value of marketing:

The value of marketing comes from the Triple A effect – understand the business Agenda where the relationship is formed: do you trust each other?

Affordability – do you as marketers have sympathy for what the organisation is simply able to afford? 

And finally Accountability – metrics have to be able to tell you what you should be doing, not just how you’re doing.

Econsultancy’s Value of Marketing research is based on a survey of more than 250 senior marketers and finance directors, as well as 18 in-depth interviews with C-suite executives from both business functions.

To request for your exclusive invite to attend the Econsultancy/IBM BusinessConnect 2015 events, sign up here:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (10 March 2015, Tuesday)

Bangkok, Thailand (12 March 2015, Thursday)

Singapore (13 March 2015, Friday)