In a surprising admission, 80 percent of CEOs participating in a recent survey admit they don’t really trust and aren’t very impressed by the work done by marketers while, in comparison, 90 percent of the same CEOs do trust and value the opinion and work of CFOs and CIOs.

That’s one of the findings identified by U.K.-based The Fournaise Marketing Group through its 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, in which it interviewed more than 1,200 enterprise and SMB CEOs and decision-makers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. And there’s more (and the following is attributable to the group’s newest research and is its opinions and wording).

Marketers are too disconnected from the financial realities of companies, Fournaise said after it tracked the core source of the problem: 80 percent of CEOs believe marketers are too disconnected from the short-, medium- and long-term financial realities of companies. And that’s because 78 percent of these CEOs think marketers too often lose sight of what their real job is: to generate more customer demand for their products/services in a business-quantifiable and business-measurable way. For B2C CEOs, more customer demand means more products off the shelves, more sell-in, more sell-out, more sales volume, more sales revenue.

Unfortunately, 69 percent of B2C CEOs believe B2C marketers now live too much in their creative and social media bubble and focus too much on such parameters as “likes,” “tweets,” “feeds” or “followers” – the very parameters they can’t really prove generate more (business-quantifiable) customer demand for their products/services, and the very parameters judged “interesting but not critical” by CEOs.

For B2B CEOs (and B2C CEOs in such prospect-driven industries as education and insurance), more customer demand means fueling more qualified or sales-ready prospects to the sales pipeline – prospects that can then be converted faster into actual revenue by sales forces.

Unfortunately, 71 percent of these CEOs believe that while B2B marketers are focused on the latest marketing technologies (i.e., marketing automation, lead management and CRM) supposedly to generate customer demand, they still are failing to deliver the level of incremental customer demand expected of them. These CEOs feel marketers are too distracted and sucked into the technological flurry (and jargon) related to system integration, funnels, processes and scores, and have forgotten that technology is only a support tool that does not create demand per se – only accurate strategies and campaigns pushing the right products, product benefits, content and customer value propositions do.

These CEOs also feel B2B and prospect-driven marketers have been so desperate to prove their worth that they’ve started to (wrongly) focus on performance indicators that are actually not theirs, such as prospect conversions and revenue. These marketers have lost sight that these are primarily sales force-related performance indicators, and that they should focus instead on the customer demand-related indicators directly linked to their job and for which they have 100-percent control.

What To Do?

To earn the CEOs trust, marketers will need to transform themselves into return on investment (ROI) marketers; 75 percent of CEOs think marketers misunderstand (and misuse) the “real business” definition of the words “results,” “ROI” and “performance” and, therefore, do not adequately speak the language of their top management. These CEOs fail to understand why marketers cannot zoom in on a few critical key business performance indicators to precisely measure, quantify and report on the level of customer demand they are asked to deliver, instead of drowning everybody with data and analyses that are too remote from the P&L.

CEOs believe they trust CFOs and CIOs because they are 100-percent ROI-focused – where every dollar spent must have a measurable, quantifiable and positive impact on the company’s P&L and operations. To earn the CEOs’ trust and to prove that they can be solid business generators, 74 percent of CEOs want marketers to become 100-percent ROI-focused. They call them “ROI marketers.”
 
In this context, CEOs have a clear vision of what they expect from ROI marketers:

>> 82 percent of B2C CEOs would like B2C ROI marketers to focus on tracking, reporting and (very importantly) boosting four key marketing performance indicators: sell-in, sell-out, market share and marketing ROI (defined as the correlation between Marketing spending and the gross profit generated from it).

>> 85 percent of B2B CEOs (and B2C CEOs in prospect-driven industries) would like prospect-driven ROI marketers to focus on tracking, reporting and boosting four key marketing performance indicators: prospect volume, prospect quality rate, marketing effectiveness rate (defined as the percentage of marketing spending that directly generated prospects) and BizPM (business potential generated by marketing).
 
“People trust doctors, surgeons, lawyers, pilots or accountants simply because they know these no-nonsense professionals are trained to focus on the right set of data to take the best decisions and achieve the best outcomes possible,” notes Jerome Fontaine, CEO & chief tracker at Fournaise. “CEOs trust CFOs and CIOs for the same reasons. It’s not a game of data, but rather a game of the ‘right & relevant’ data for the right purpose and the right decision-making, with no fluff around” 

He continues, “Marketers will have to understand that they need to start ‘cutting the rubbish’ if they are to earn the trust of CEOs and if they want to have a bigger impact in the boardroom. They will have to transform themselves into true business-driven ROI marketers or forever remain in what 65 percent of CEOs told us they call ‘marketing la-la land’.”

For more information on Fournaise, contact Katherine Watts at katherine.watts@fournaisegroup.com.

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