Bridging the CMO-CFO divide

With advances in AI, predictive analytics, distilled big data, customer analytics, web and social analytics, the CMO’s role has evolved and at times been misunderstood. Their outstanding achievements in this new digital, customer- centric, data driven, and ROI centric times has not been easy.

Not taking any sides – traditionally, the CMO has been the center point between the external agency of record and the business. To realize $$ for the intangible Don Draper- ish magic of TV, Print, Billboard advertising, with a splash of behavioral psychology thrown in ‘was/Is’ yet not really convincing to rest of the C-Suite.

Pepper in demographic shifts, the new customer experience desired by customers, the emerging touchpoints, the 8 second attention span (a goldfish has a 9 sec attention span) and hypnosis into the equation, it gets even tougher to determine’ Where is Waldo’, the holy grail in dollars, the infamous ROI.

Hard to attribute ROI in ‘dollars’ which the CFO does not frown upon, CMO/CFO relationship has seemingly been like ‘Apples and Plums’. ‘Apples and Oranges’ would simply be absolution.

The CMO accountable for building, maintaining the brand equity, marketing the organizational revenue generating segments, staying ahead of the curve with Customer experience, while balancing the introduction of new devices, channels, and the application of emerging marketing technology, it is a big plate……and extra laps around the track.
It is a persuasive argument for the C-Suite to consider ‘Marketing’ as a ‘revenue generating center’, not as a ‘cost center’, a burden.
Alignment and the prevailing climate between the CMO, and the CFO has to give way to solutions:

– Hammer out a sound unquestionable ROI attribution strategy, for intangibles and tangibles.
– A ROI attribution which audits the existing determinants and adopts CFO inspired tweaks. Having ‘Skin in the game’ makes the entire game plausible.
– A quarterly ROI health check which tracks monthly variances, with historic and cyclical attributes factored in.
– This proposed health check would lead to a robust Marketing plan for the next budget planning year.
– Finally, a forecast, where ROI and spend could be traced back to the budget

These efforts do require time and effort. From my cost accounting days, I know how crucial and illuminating this exercise can be.
From a business road mapping perspective, it brings agility and a shortened roadmap from the traditional 5 year plan.

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