CEOs to CMOs: Enough with the Likes Already

It’s a totem of marketing that the short tenure of the chief marketing officer is to blame for all manner of ills. The stark reason for this short tenure: CMOs’ bosses don’t trust them.

That’s laid clear in a new survey by marketing consultancy Fournaise, which polled 1,200 chiefs of large and small companies. Campaign Asia reported the findings, which are a bit of a wake-up call to marketers chasing after The Next Big Thing.

For B2C CEOs, more customer-demand means more sales revenue. Unfortunately, nearly seven in 10 of B2C CEOs believe their marketers now live too much in a creative and social-media bubble and focus too much on parameters such as likes, tweets, feeds or followers — parameters they can’t prove generate more business-quantifiable customer demand for products and services. CEOs regard these parameters as “interesting but not critical.”

The study, of course, hinges on the ROI issue. The fact remains that social hasn’t yet proven itself to be a big business drive. There’s a sneaking suspicion in many areas of companies that marketing overall is a lot of fluffery. Fournaise, for instance, found that CEOs are far more likely to trust the opinions of tech and finance over the same coming from marketing. Even when marketers speak of “results,” CEOs aren’t exactly buying that marketers really get what constitutes real business-driving data, the report concludes. Three out of four respondents want marketers to be completely ROI focused.

These CEOs feel marketers are too distracted, get sucked into the the “technological flurry and jargon” related to system integration and forget that technology is meant to be used only as a support tool. These tools don’t create demand per se; only accurate strategies and campaigns pushing the right products, product benefits, content and customer value propositions do.

Marketing is clearly moving into the world of big data. The successful marketers will see data not so much as a crutch to justify campaigns, but as a driver and determiner of marketing plans. That’s probably the only way marketing is going to get out of the trap of being seen as the lesser function within companies.

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