Marketers are falling into the trap of doing things that are easily measurable in the short-term rather than focusing on more traditional forms of media that could deliver longer-term benefits, according to Andrew Warner, vice-president of marketing at Monster.
Talking on Marketing Week’s Advertising Week Europe panel on how marketing and finance can better work together, Warner said: “All too often marketers today go for things that show a quick return instead of thinking about the bigger overall business agenda, building a case and arguing it.”
As a result he believes marketers need change the way they think and act or “we will lose the power of marketing”.
“There are lots of articles saying that CMOs are becoming more empowered because of the data they have access to; that could be the case but if you let this opportunity pass then I fear we could actually become programmatic monkeys juggling spread sheets,” he said.
Instead he urges marketers to “think from a commercial perspective, understand the business agenda, and be determined to build and prove hypotheses”. At the same time, however, he reckons marketers should not be afraid of getting things wrong.
“The key thing about taking risks is to be honest about what has worked and what hasn’t,” he added.
Last year Marketing Week revealed that while 61% of finance directors believe marketing is a critical function within their business just 39% have confidence in marketers to make good commercial decisions.
Also talking on the panel was Jan Gooze-Zjil, chief financial and operations officer at UKTV, who agrees that marketers should own up to errors and admit when something hasn’t worked as it will benefit the business in the long term.
“We launched a trial for a new product last year but the person running it realised it wasn’t working out and was actually making a significant loss,” he explained. “She had two options at that point: either carry on running the trial and make an even bigger loss at the end of three months or put her hands up and say ‘we launched this trial, it’s not working out, it’s making a loss, I don’t know why but I’m going to stop the trial, figure out the causes behind it and then go again’. That’s what she chose to do. We then relaunched it and it is now making a profit.”
Gooze-Zjil reckons problems between CFOs and marketers arise from issues around alignment, forecasting and clarification.
“It’s critical for marketers and finance to work together,” he said. “Both need to understand the overall strategy for the business and how to collectively work to make that happen… If there isn’t common understanding between finance and marketing things get very difficult.”
To improve relations between different departments all teams at UKTV move desks every three months so they can gain a better understanding of each team’s role within the business.
Joe Clift, chief marketing and communications officer at the CFA Institute agrees that the biggest issue is the lack of shared agenda and understanding so both parties need to find a common language or currency.
“It can be as simple as asking ‘how do we talk to each other, how do we correspond and how do we communicate,’” he said.
When it comes to finding a common currency he suggests that while both marketing and finance will have different sets of metrics there will be some in the middle that overlap, which should enable both parties to get a common view.