Accountability 101

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Arthur A. Anderson, principal of advertiser consultancy Morgan Anderson Consulting, gives marketers five ideas to make marketing and agencies accountable:

1 Put marketing and communications expertise on your board of directors and management executive committee. Although virtually every board has finance, audit and compensation committees, it is rare for a board to have a marketing committee.

2 Implement internal controls and oversight for marketing-communications spending. Advertisers deserve full disclosure from their marketing-communications suppliers, including information relating to agency staffing, account economics and agency economics.

3 Ensure that your marketing-communications practices achieve industry "best-practice" status. With the continuing evolution of measurement, metrics and benchmarking, no longer can marketing be considered more art than science.

4 Make sure your board and management understand the consequences of shirking their fiduciary responsibilities. Corporate executives now face prison time and fines paid out of their own pockets in this new world of financial accountability.

5 Conduct a Sarbanes-Oxley inquiry and fiduciary assessment for your marketing communications. Despite its sweeping nature, Sarbanes-Oxley provides frustratingly little guidance as to which practices and assessments constitute compliance under the law. Get ahead of the curve.

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