Marketing tops bosses' wish-lists

Marketers might expect a spike in demand for their services because jittery chief executives want fresh ideas to grow their businesses in straightened times.

Research from business advisor Deloitte shows corporations’ top brass are placing their faith in marketing above all other avenues to "shape strategy and drive growth."

But ironically for marketers, recognition that their unique skills will generate demand for a business does not dictate they will be given the tools, or the budgets, to do so.

“Executives are saying in the same breath that marketing is fundamental to growth but are also looking to cut marketing budgets in this challenging trading period,” Deloitte said.

“We believe it is the failure of marketers to demonstrate effectiveness that ultimately leads to an inability to defend marketing budgets.”

Malcolm Wilkinson, head of the firm’s marketing effectiveness team, added that marketers were to blame for not tackling a lack of clarity about marketing’s role and value.

Pointing to its first half-year survey of 160 senior marketers, the advisor said that only a small minority had told their bosses of the value they could bring in tangible, financial terms.

Most marketers admitted they were unable to communicate the needs of marketing to other business areas, partly explaining why bosses said general staff didn’t understand its value.

Mr Wilkinson said. “You can’t expect an organisation to articulate itself when the marketing function cannot articulate its own role.”

“It will need to do more to convince finance professionals through a shared understanding of marketing measures that are clearly linked to strategy. The marketer must present the value created in terms that the finance function can understand.”

Part of the problem for marketers appears to stem from a self-identity crisis: only a fifth of those questioned said their roles and responsibilities in their outfit were clearly defined.

In this respect, Deloitte said the boardroom should take action by clearly articulating the role of marketing across the wider organisation and aligning leadership around the role it plays.


16th October 2008

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