Top Marketers Make Their Case

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CMOs Rapped for Having Zero Impact on Sales

How much does a CMO contribute to the financial health of a company? Plenty, according to some of marketing's top executives in "CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer." The paper, produced jointly by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers, concludes that "revenue growth and profitability are strongest among companies that elevate the role of marketing to the highest possible level." Responses offered in Q&A's with major marketers also address the issue of accountability for financial performance and how marketers should work with others in the C-suite:
Beth Comstock
NBC Universal
"You get in trouble if you think there's some magic ROI formula, and that if it's not perfect, the CFO's going to reject it. I've found just the opposite. A dialogue works better. And it begins like this: 'Maybe in this case we can't exactly define sales, but here are some other things we can define.'...I can't imagine doing a marketing job without connecting with the CFO. "
Olaf Gƶttgens
"Our role is to improve the brand image and increase sales. And we need to be able to prove that we do this. We have to show that we are business partners who are also capable of calculating a business case. If we ask for investment X, we need to be able to demonstrate the result of that investment. By doing so, we can demonstrate how the brand's marketing support has affected the company's profits."
Keith Pardy
"We're spending [$4.5 billion] a year on marketing and sales. That's an investment we'd better be able to get a return on. ...On a broad level, the role of marketing is to shift the demand curve out. And on the balance sheet, it's to build intangible goodwill. On a practical level, there is a simple calculation you can do on your income statement to compute return on marketing invest-ment. It may be naive and very basic. But we do it."
John Hayes
American Express
"Marketers need to align key thinking and objectives with the CEO. It is also crucial to keep senior management informed on the initiatives and the outcomes of our marketing efforts. ... Every marketing judgment is vetted at certain levels. ... But the drive for innovation really starts with our CEO, who really believes in the brand, believes that brands drive businesses, and believes in the things we're doing."
James Stengel
Procter & Gamble
"Focus on metrics. Do it for your own personal credibility. You need to show what can be done, what you want to be held accountable for, and how marketing can help the organization achieve it. But keep coming back to our consumer experience. And keep asking, 'What is the state of our business?'"
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