According to roughly 80% of CEOs the answer to this question is decidedly No! The Fournaise Marketing Group’s Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, which it interviewed more than 1,200 Large corporation and SMB CEOs across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, suggests most decision makers may think marketing is mostly useless BS.
Not so impressed with the work marketers are doing for them, this survey of leaders tends to show a high degree of value assessment for internal execs like CFOs and CIOs, with an almost direct inverse relationship where marketers are concerned. Fournaise, one of the world’s leading Marketing Performance Boosters, is keyed for solving for ROI, and is a company used by Top B2C & B2B ROI Marketers across 20 countries, and in 13 vertical industries. According to the press from Fournaise, marketers may be too disconnected from financial realities. The report goes on to spotlight the idea CEOs believe Marketers lose sight of their job, and rather than generating more consumer demand, they tend to focus on creative and social aspects of their profession. Social media, among other key drivers, seems to be only a fringe value additive where most CEOs are concerned.
One of the biggest and most painful, and confusing aspects of the report points to B2B Marketers seemingly being focused on the latest marketing technologies (such as marketing automation, lead management and CRM), all of which may be failing to deliver, at least for CEOs. Overall, so called digital marketers may have a big hill to climb in convincing decision makers that new age marketing tools will prove out. This say nothing for the credibility of marketers themselves. A special note seems appropriate here and at the end of this article. As far as I can tell, Fournaise has little or no social media presence at all. We are not sure if this aspect bears on the news?
Results, ROI, Performance, the Fournaise news also points to a huge crevass where communication between marketers and management is concerned. While most CEOs feel financial execs and other bean counter types DO “speak” their language, they also feel another disconnect with marketers in the dogma space too. Point in fact, some CEOs feel drowned in facts and figures that they deem meaningless. CEOs also feel CFOs and CIOs are fully ROI focused. And this is no surprise, what other focus would accountants and high end financial types have? That, not from the report, but from long experience dealing with CEOs. The fact here is, leaders who are Finance-Centric, will always lean toward the pure ROI end, and away from the creative side.
Back to the report, focusing on a company’s P&L and operations is definitely where the preponderance of decision maker focus is. So called ROI Marketers, those that focus more on tracking and reporting, market performance, and so on, these types are the focal point of this news. Fournaise Marketing Group has keyed on the marketing performance indicators CEOs respect most: 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). On this note, Jerome Fontaine (top left) CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise, had this to offer:
“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. 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.”
While we do not agree with all of Fournaise’s conclusions, it is clear for us as social media experts and PR, that a great many marketing types are indeed in what Jerome Fontaine calls “La La Land” – a place decision makers largely see as a sort of “Salesmanship burial ground” if all be told here. From our own experience and case studies, neither Fontaine, nor those CEOs is far from wrong.
WIHP Hotels marketing guru, Martin Soler, and this writer, offered up a mini-study on social media marketing strategies on Search Engine Journal. While our assessment focused more on the incorrect marketing method, the end result as far as CEOs is concerned, would obviously be the same. The proof in the pudding here being, “you can’t prove ROI at all if your methods suck!” Marketers in the digital age, actually mimic really bad salesmen from other eras, at times. Hard sell tactics cannot prove out, particularly in realm where the “mark” is on holiday.
The bottom line for CEOs and marketing types according to Fournaise Marketing Group is, “You had better hire professionals who have a clue how to prove ROI.” The same bottom line proves out well from our own experience. One big reason no one has ever shown effectively a rock solid ROI case for social media, is that so few so called “experts” really have a clue how to engage, let alone execute. Add to this the idea that social media marketing is still in its infancy, a highly dynamic and changing niche actually, and anyone who tells you they are not “experimenting” is flat out lying in my experience. Hence, anyone who can truly be an ROI Marketer, is sure to be the “cat’s meow” where business leaders are concerned.