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

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