The CFO Challenge

Take a look at some interesting figures emanating from the US yesterday into the perception among chief financial officers (CFOs) at Fortune 1000 companies of their respective marketing teams. Less than a quarter (22 per cent) believe that marketing heads should be given more money to work with and 47 per cent were “not confident” in the job their marketing partners were doing for them.

This begs several questions: Firstly, are those marketing teams in that “47 per cent” doing an effective job? Secondly, do marketing directors enjoy a platform where they can show off internally what they’re doing for the company (we all know how much of an issue “measurement” is)? Thirdly, are CFOs just Spock-like, logical number crunchers who don’t like us wishy-washy creative types much anyhow?

I’ve seen plenty of big firm “year start” meetings and they tend to major on sales, there can’t be any doubt about that. But there’s clearly a disconnect here if marketing teams aren’t being given the credit they may be due and the resource they definitely need.

One thing can be sure in this current economic climate: If you sit there and say nothing, no one’s going to hear you. Now will someone please tell the CFO?


  1. The prevailing joke with CFOs is that "1/2 our marketing budget works. We just don't know which 1/2". This is a legacy view and is starting to go away as the marketing mix has shifted to more measurable online ways. I work in growth companies and can assure you from my standpoint, that marketing is king. But for us, marketing does not mean building brand, big campaigns, etc. It means user acquisition. Very targeted. Measurable ROI.

    If you want to please CFOs and get your budget approved, measure the impact of the programs and spend you propose.

  2. Thanks Mark, it's that old 'measurement' chestnut once again. I guess CFOs and CMOs need to agree on metrics before heading out on a marketing programme.