First connections of two contrary cultures

The results of a survey, published in the national press this week, had me gaping in disbelief. Almost half of UK board directors – 44% – predict their companies will return to “pre-recession normality” and that their businesses will not fundamentally change in the next five years. For board members not to recognise the need to reinvent their business models in order to adapt and grow is at blinkered at best.

Mark Choueke
Mark Choueke

New ground rules are emerging. The subject of our cover story is a case in point. It follows our initial coverage of Deutsche Bank’s note last month which called for greater understanding and expertise within the City of what it called Advertising & Promotions, what we call marketing.

The communications gap between marketers and the inhabitants of the Square Mile and Canary Wharf has long been damaging to the prospect of marketing being taken seriously. Research analysts, part of whose job it is to add narrative to the calculations of future value of companies for client investors, have lacked the information they need to understand how marketing counts towards future value creation.

The businesses themselves have not helped, often preferring to focus on short- term numbers than long-term strategy when spinning their financial reports into something that looks like success.

And historically, marketers too have played their part in the communications gap with a natural resistance to accountability that allows non-marketing executives to view such investment as discretionary.

“While leaders from within marketing have attempted to bridge the gap before, it is significant that a hand has been extended from the other side of the chasm”

It is no coincidence that the bridge we’ve featured on the cover is in Lisbon and named after Vasco da Gama, one of that city’s most successful explorers from the European Age of Discovery. We think this first move on the part of Deutsche could prompt a relationship that merits serious exploration.

Though nobody interviewed for the feature pulled any punches, there is general agreement that such a relationship between marketers and the City would benefit all. Jamie Isenwater, a Deutsche analyst, speaks frankly about a growing desire in the City to understand more about the benefits of marketing and how it can affect a company’s growth.

That has got to be a positive thing. For while this is far from the first time leaders from within marketing have attempted to bridge this gap, it is significant that a hand has been extended from the other side of the chasm.

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