Getting marketing representation around the boardroom table is important so that it can influence business strategy. But in order to get a seat at the top table you’ve got to deliver results again, and again, and again.
The reason that marketing is now represented at board level at Fujitsu is that marketing has delivered the results day in and day out. You’ve got to be able to prove that you bring real value to the business.
In the business-to-business world, it can be as hard or even harder to prove this than in business-to-consumer world. That is because there’s generally a longer purchase cycle. If you are in the market of selling baked beans, you will be able to see the results the same day or the day after a marketing campaign but in IT it might take a year or even 18 months to get a sale.
One of the things I have struggled with is making sure that we are measuring the right things, so I’ve worked very closely with my team to ensure that we do not lose sight of the end sale. We are living in an age where you have to measure everything. However, the risk is that you concentrate on measuring the easy stuff like Facebook likes and click-throughs but this is a mistake as ultimately you’ve got to be able to demonstrate that your department drives profit. It’s all about timing.
Marketing has different roles to play in terms of where companies are in their evolution. Sometimes if a company is trying to keep stable, then it might not be necessary for marketers to be represented at board level.
But for Fujitsu, we are entering what we think is a strong growth period. Following a strong year of results we have high ambitions for growth. Any company considering a period of growth really needs to have marketers at the top table influencing how the business grows.
Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time speaking to colleagues around the boardroom table convincing them that they need marketing represented at the very highest level. So it is no surprise to them that I now have a seat at the top table.