Your Factfile article “Rivals for the purse strings” (Marketing Week July 30) listed a set of attributes which accountants recognised as being the sorts of criticisms that were levelled against them by marketers. It went on to say, “on the positive side, many finance directors recognise that such criticisms are often justified”. The article also listed the criticisms that finance directors level at marketers.
What a shame it did not pursue whether or not those criticisms were justified.
If the gulf between marketing and finance staff is due to inadequacies on the part of the marketing department then surely those inadequacies should be addressed? Finance directors are entitled to feel a lack of confidence in marketing departments that are staffed by people with limited formal training, with little real exposure to and experience of dealing with customers, or by people who lack the basic financial and numeracy skills to establish the extent to which their proposals can genuinely create additional shareholder value.
On the other hand, if the gap is merely a communication problem then what a terrible indictment it is of the marketing staff (who are supposed to be experts at communication) not to have found a way to bridge that gap.
Marketing is about finding, getting, keeping and developing customers – and doing it profitably. It is a core business discipline. Marketing departments that allow a gulf to be created between themselves and finance, (or between themselves and any other departments come to that), are failing in their responsibility to their shareholders.