If you are a marketer this makes unhappy reading. If you are a manager it may not surprise you. But don’t be smug
The news is shocking.
The overwhelming majority of CEOs do not believe marketers deliver the results they should.
The reason is simple. They are neither trained in, nor understand – even vaguely – the things they should.
You may doubt me. Could such strong statements be true? But they come from an independent April 2014 survey by the highly regarded Fournaise Group.
This unique organisation tracks and analyses the results of over 2.5 million campaigns annually online and off. They involve over 1200 firms selling products and services to consumers and businesses, all over the world.
The firms range from SMEs to Fortune 100 companies. No matter what you sell or who you sell to, what you are about to read is highly relevant
The report noted:
- 90% of marketers are not trained in Marketing Performance & Marketing ROI.
- 67% don’t believe marketing ROI requires a financial outcome
- 64% rely on Brand Awareness as their chief way of measuring return on investment
- 58% refer to “Likes”, “Tweets”, “Clicks” and/or “CTR” as their leading performance indicators.
- 31% think measuring audience reached is the way to assess return on investment
The report concludes witheringly that “Every Tom, Dick & Harry is a marketer lacking scientific and financial knowledge”.
What do their bosses think about this?
In another Fournaise report Chief Executives said marketers:
- Talk about the “brand” (issues, values, equity, etc) but cannot link back to results that matter: revenue, sales, EBIT or market valuation (77%)
- Focus too much on marketing trends (social media) because they believe in “New marketing frontiers” but cannot demonstrate how these are actually beneficial (74%)
- When asked to increase ROI they understand it as cost cutting or negotiations with partners and agencies instead of top line growth regeneration: more revenue, sales, prospects, buyers (73%)
- Ask for more money but cannot explain how much incremental business the money will generate (72%)
- Bombard stakeholders with marketing data that mean nothing. (70%)
- Don’t think like businesspeople. Focus too much on creative “arty” and “fluffy” side of marketing, not enough on business science. Rely on ad agencies to come up with big ideas (67%)
The gap between what marketers fondly imagine and how their bosses view them is considerable
73% of CEOs think marketers lack credibility. But 69% of marketers think their strategies and campaigns are effective – despite being unable to quantify or prove it.
Why did I suggest bosses should nevertheless not be too smug. Well, I still chortle when I recall a report that came out quite a few years ago. Over 1,000 top U.S. executives were sent a series of questions to establish how much they knew about marketing.
Their ignorance was such that the Wall Street Journal reported they would have got better marks if they had all answered “I don’t know” to every question.
I doubt if things are any better now, especially in Britain, where we have three big problems.
1. We have a higher percentage of executives to workers than in any other advanced economy. Too many clueless leaders; not enough people doing the work.
2. Top executives are handsomely rewarded whether they get results or not. Hardly an incentive – and a drain on profits.
3. We have a higher percentage of accountants among our chief executives than in other countries. This must be one reason for the rise of the procurement industry – and a crippling emphasis on numbers rather than quality or imagination.
The aim of marketing, according to Sergio Zyman, who had such an impact on Coca Cola’s success, is “to sell more stuff to more people more often at higher prices”.
Perhaps over simple, as some marketing is to sell ideas. But if you’d like a few ideas on how to sell anything to anyone anywhere, you can join me and one of the world’s best salesmen on October 20th in London at Churchill’s War Rooms.