Speaking at Thinkbox’s Big Think 2015 event today (30 September), Duncan said that marketing has lost its business credibility – even though most companies recognise its value in driving the heart of the business.
“Of the Fortune 1,000 US companies, only 34 marketing directors sit on the executive board. On the FTSE 100, this number is only slightly better,” he explained.
The reason for marketers not getting that all-important place at the boardroom table is twofold. Firstly, marketing has an image and language problem, according to Duncan.
“As a term, marketing is often misunderstood and too many marketers use jargon that other members on the board simply don’t understand. As a result, marketing directors don’t get taken seriously,” he said.
Marketing can also be seen as a cost rather than an investment, which is cut when businesses face difficult times.
“Marketing should be a broad strategic discipline, but too often it’s a narrow function that has one particular job to do and doesn’t have the ambition or desire to get involved in other issues,” he commented.
As a result, marketers have to upgrade their skill set to earn respect.
“Great marketing is art and science combined. To be on the boardroom table, marketers need to be a fully clued up on the strategic and business side of things, but also be the lifeblood of creativity and bring in new ideas,” he said.
Marketers should also become the CEOs best friend by bringing together different teams across the business.
“Marketing directors at their best should be the glue around the whole organisation,” Duncan concluded.
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