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Three Reasons Why the CEO May Not Trust Their Marketing Team



A survey by The Fournaise Marketing Group concluded that 73% of CEOs believe “marketers lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient growth”. The study provided a comparison between the perception of senior marketers and their colleagues in alternative areas of the business. The Fournaise Marketing Group found that 91% of CEOs trust their CFO and CIOs; in comparison, only 20% trust their marketers. If 80% of CEOs do not trust their marketing team, an average of only 20% of marketers are amplifying the same message as their senior management team.

Below are three steps for improvement, these steps should be considered in addition to a marketing strategy optimised for ROI. The first contributing factor to this issue is a lack of communication; the second is a company-wide misunderstanding of marketing technologies and the third is a lack of accurate metrics and dedicated KPIs.

Lack of communication

Most CEOs assume public responsibility for the success of their brand – If the company looks bad, so does the CEO. This responsibility is often accompanied with caution towards brand amplification. As with any business partnership, silos are relaxed with the progression of a working relationship and trust but to begin with, expect senior staff to ask questions and hold activity to caution. This working relationship can be relaxed at speed if the CEO is communicated with to their satisfaction. Each individual will have a unique rate to which they will relax their involvement but it will generally be far quicker if they are informed why you are conducting each activity, how much it is costing the business, what ROI is to be expected and what effect the activity will have on public perception of the brand.

Misunderstanding of marketing technologies

Ambitious marketers work with new technology on a daily basis.  For those outside of the industry there is little education or understanding of these tools or operations and can lead to a frustration when invoices begin rolling in. Modern marketing tools are incredibly advanced and capability is increasing each day. Most C-level executives will not have much exposure to the latest in digital marketing technology. Some CEOs will have a good understanding of marketing operations and others will be unaware of the industry’s progression in the past decade. Marketing automation and inbound platforms are a great place to start when informing a senior management team of marketing capabilities. Most CEOs and CFOs are used to dealing with data and analytics and reporting functionality is a fantastic area to begin. Most senior leaders will welcome the chance to learn how the marketing team are driving their business forward using the latest technology, particularly is they can see evidence in the form of monthly reports.

Lack of evidence

Accurate metrics are more accessible than ever with the tools available to the modern marketer. Senior management will be looking for evidence that your marketing activity is having a positive effect on company revenue. It is imperative to provide those senior leaders with some form of evidence regarding ROI. If metrics are kept up to date a month in arrears, the CEO will be more likely to place their trust in the marketing team. An overview of marketing activity should be sufficient for this. A basic digital report should comprise of an overview of marketing channel performance, a breakdown of website visits and their sources. The second part of this report should provide opportunities generated from marketing activity and marketing generated sales – this information can then be updated each month to provide an accurate snapshot of the sales lifecycle.

It is not necessary for your CEO to be a marketing expert but it is important for them to have an understanding of your marketing activity; why you’re doing it and what impact you expect that activity to have on the overall organisation. The three steps above are just the beginning of the journey to challenge the Fournaise Marketing Group’s study. People will not invest in what they do not understand or have reason to believe will work. A solid marketing strategy in collaboration with an informed senior management team will ensure greater company investment and improved results. 

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