Marketing moves up the financial agenda

Marketing investment was always seen by those on the finance side of business as a cost – and not one that could be measured easily enough.

This appears to be changing. I’ve addressed this same theme twice in my Leader column already in 2010, both based on Marketing Week’s coverage of the efforts of a research analyst team at Deutsche Bank to understand marketing and how it can create value and drive growth. Jamie Isenwater, one of the analysts, says he is keen to help distinguish his firm as expert advisors to investors on a side of business they know little about but that will become, in his words, “increasingly important”.

Marketing Week, Deutsche Bank and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising are working together to investigate how we can create a platform for some serious debate between marketers and those that evaluate companies, advise investors and deliver M&A but know little of brand value, customer strategy or communications.

A boost to morale then, that the Credit Suisse Group is thinking along similar lines, (page 5). The Power of Brand Investing is a new report based on extensive global research into the competitive advantages that can be had by investing in the value of your brand.

Having absorbed the report and spoken to Credit Suisse in the UK, I can tell you that, much like the 67-page note published in January by Deutsche Bank entitled The Importance of Advertising and Promotions, none of it will be new to you. It talks about themes that are more than familiar within our world: that growth is more likely to come from companies that invest in brand, customer relationship, insight-led new
product development, targeted marketing communications and so on.

“With any investor, the initial response to new things is always scepticism. They need to try and fail to prove the theory wrong before they believe in it”

What is new, and fantastic, is that these messages are coming from the finance side. This is new thinking in the investment community.

I spoke to Deutsche’s Isenwater this week after his team published a new note. It carried fresh evidence that those stocks that did invest in their advertising and promotions (what he calls marketing) during the recession are seeing the benefits through improved volume trends, better second-half profits and 2010 forecast upgrades. In light of this, I asked, will it be easy to convince the investment community of the vital role that marketers play in their fortunes? Isenwater’s answer: “Investors have been pretty sceptical about the whole subject generally so far. With any investor, the initial response to new things is always scepticism. They need to try and fail to prove the theory wrong before they believe in it.”

That two finance giants of the calibre of Deutsche and Credit Suisse are recognising the importance of becoming expert in the value of marketing strategy can only be a good thing.

Mark Choueke, editor

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