Updated: 5 ways CMOs can get their CFO onside

Marketing's growing presence at the heart of business is changing the dynamic between chief marketing officer and their c-suite peers. Here we look at the challenge of aligning with the CFO

2 CFOs share their views on marketing

Robyn Denholm is the CFO at global networking vendor, Juniper Networks, and is recognised for her strategic role within the business. She sees marketing as a key part in building the company’s competitive advantage through brand and market access.

“In a competitive market like high-end networking, strategic, well executed marketing programs allow us to expand our footprint, and gain access to key markets. And importantly, it provides recognition of the brand globally, as we bring game-changing technology innovations to market. Our brand and strategic marketing get us in the door, and our innovative technology does the rest.

“As an example, in 2009 Juniper made the strategic decision to invest in rebranding the company at the same time they moved from NASDAQ to NYSE. The aim was to increase our global footprint while establishing increased brand recognition with our customers. That investment has made a remarkable difference in our ability to participate in highly competitive accounts around the globe. In fact, it’s helped us become one of the top vendors in our space.

“At Juniper, we are connecting our marketing metrics to our business goals in tangible and measurable ways, through Net Promoter Scores, share of voice and demand generation results.

“As a CFO, the biggest impact I need to see is return-on investment – it’s something that must be planned for strategically, executed with great focus and evaluated often. Ultimately, increased sales and revenue is the best result.”

Clearer ROI = clearer partnership

For Matthew Gepp, CFO at MyNetFone, the CFO / marketing relationship in business has significantly changed over the last several years. "Traditionally, CFOs have found it difficult to justify any substantial investment in marketing, which has often resulted in poor collaborative working relationships," he commented. "As the role of marketing continues to transform, however, with tools that now help to demonstrate a clearer ROI from marketing, businesses now see a better working relationship between CFOs and the marketing department."

Gepp's key considerations to help foster a positive relationship between marketing teams and CFOs are:

  • Accountability: All marketing spend needs to be accountable and show some return on investment. By demonstrating to the CFO that marketing is not just ‘burning’ money, but rather is a long-term investment generating returns, a CFO will be more likely to be on side with the initiatives of the marketing team. This is particularly important for a multi-brand strategy, where budgets are split between campaigns and brands, and each brand’s performance needs to be accountable.

  • Reporting: To ensure accountability, thorough reporting must be in place to evaluate campaigns, marketing activities and subsequent sales generated. At MyNetFone, for example, we do this by assigning dedicated 1300 numbers to ads in different print and online publications, and unique links to online advertising. We then track the number of calls, clicks, enquiries and the conversion rate, as well as gathering feedback from the sales team about the quality of the leads.

  • Budget and tracking: To make the most of the marketing budget, it is important to plan ahead and lock in package rates with discounts where possible. A calendar with upcoming activity and associated costs also allows the finance department to anticipate and manage cash flow, so there are no surprises when invoices arrive.

Related articles Why today’s CMO will be tomorrow’s CEO
CIOs and CMOs have more in common than you think
CMOs require analytical and data management framework

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive


The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...


It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in