Few decision-makers in marketing and finance roles say that these two departments plan and work collaboratively towards shared goals, according to a Neustar-commissioned study [download page] conducted by Forrester Consulting. The report indicates that process (chain of command, rules and regulations), people and technology are all hindering marketing and finance from making more collaborative decisions.
Among the 190 decision-makers surveyed (104 in finance roles and 86 in marketing roles), a majority said that activities such as making more joint decisions on marketing spend and budgets (55%) and gaining a better understanding of one another’s organizations, goals and objectives (53%) would be effective in getting the departments to work together. Around half also said that viewing marketing as a growth center, not a cost center, would be effective. This has been one of the biggest shifts in perception being driven by CMOs, per recent research.
A more in-depth understanding of the other department’s role seems to be critical to better relationships. Some 54% of respondents consider it a challenge to these departments’ ability to collaborate that marketing lacks a fundamental understanding of finance’s processes, tasks, and objectives. Likewise, 61% consider it a challenge that finance lacks a fundamental understanding of marketing’s processes, tasks, and objectives.
That makes it paramount that marketers see what senior finance professionals want from working with the marketing team regarding their goals and objectives. Asked to choose their top-3 objectives, finance respondents most commonly pointed to:
- – Measuring the effectiveness of marketing in achieving financially driven goals (51%);
- – Better connecting marketing with the sales forecast process to help build pipeline (50%); and
- – Making marketing more accountable for building valid business cases to support its budget.
By comparison, respondents aren’t as concerned with improving the ROI of marketing spend or cutting that spend. It seems, then, that it’s not the spend itself, but rather its measurement that CFOs worry about.
That’s interesting in light of 2014 research which led that report’s authors to argue that “a significant number of finance directors are assessing the value of their company’s marketing efforts independently of those in charge of running them.”
More recently, a survey of CMOs found close to 1 in 3 reporting responsibility for their business unit’s P&L, up 13% points from a year earlier. Given greater accountability for overall financial results, the survey showed that 37% of CMOs feel that the relationship with the CFO is critical.
For marketers responding to the Neustar-commissioned report, the most important objective for working with the finance team is to show them the value that marketing plays in achieving company objectives.
The full report can be downloaded here.