We are confident, in marketing circles today, that the old adage of “half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half” no longer applies. The age of digital metrics, cookies, tags and funnels has ensured that we as marketers can track, measure, report on and demonstrate ROI of everything we do, all the way down to the last penny.
So what should we make of this latest report from Marketing Week
that suggests – despite all these systems, metrics and measurable campaigns in place – that CFOs and finance teams still cannot fully comprehend the value of marketing. Why ever not? Everything is measurable, no?
Is it because some Marketing heads do not sit at board level? Is it a question of confidence in marketers to make good business decisions? Is it the complexity that the increasing availability of systems, metrics and sheer data brings, that is clouding the issue?
To some extent, all of the above, so the stats suggest.
Interestingly, though, the report goes on to cite that 83% of marketers cannot demonstrate the ROI of their spend and activities. Not surprising, then, that finance personnel are struggling!
The good news is the recognition taking place in finance circles that marketing is a critical function within their business. They are fully aware that it is in their interest to measure it. Yet they still struggle.
My take on this, then, is two-fold: First, marketers are faced with increasing amounts of data, channels and technologies at their disposal. It is paramount that these facets are tied together and streamlined wherever possible. The fact is, ROI can be measured, and systems need to be setup in a way that supports measurability. Marketers need to ascertain this ROI before finance can.
Second, having obtained the perfect report (warning: such a report, even with all the automation you can think of in place, should still require some element of manual intervention), the information needs to be clearly communicated to finance departments. Internal communication lies at the heart of this debate. A mutual understanding between marketing and finance personnel is essential. What use is a bunch of jargon-filled metrics to a finance team that can’t attribute it to how the business actually works?
Agree on metrics, then act on obtaining them via the plethora of available systems and technologies. Finally, deliver them to the right people in the right format, at the right time.
It is fair to say that some elements of marketing can be interpreted as ‘fluffy’ – funky adverts, subtle colour changes, brand campaigns are all very difficult to measure, particularly when compared to hard profit and loss figures. As long as we avoid fluffy – and above all, ‘weak’ – metrics, CFOs should be happy.