According to the study, “80% of CEOs ‘admit they do not really trust and are not very impressed’ by their marketing teams. That’s compared to the 90% of CEOs who say they do trust and value their finance and information teams.” (source: Fournaise Marketing Group).
Such a high level of distrust is surely unacceptable, especially given the impact marketing (particularly of the digital variety) can have on a business’ success. Managing directors need to know they can trust their marketing teams.
Here, we’ll explore where the distrust has come from and what you should expect from your marketing team.
Where has marketing distrust come from?
Marketing is all about creativity. It’s about intuition and gut feelings, doing what you need to do to spread your message as far and as wide as possible.
Today’s marketing is far more than that. Whilst creativity and instinct are still admirable traits in a marketing team, modern marketers have much more data at their disposal than their counterparts did five, ten years ago.
But many marketing teams are failing to make use of that data to guide their decisions.
As a CEO or MD, you’re data driven. You want to see tangible returns on your investment. You want to see intelligent decisions being made, based on data and results.
And that’s where the disconnect lies. Whilst MDs and CEOs have always been data driven, marketers of the past have relied on their guts – and this apparent ‘frivolity’ causes CEOs to question the value of their marketing teams.
Bridging the Gap: What to expect from your marketing team
The solution is, in its most basic form, simple. In order to regain the trust of the leadership team/CEO/MD, marketing teams must demonstrate intelligent use of data on which to base decisions and assess the value of marketing initiatives.
As a minimum, you, as a CEO or MD, should expect the following from your marketing teams:
1) A Destination
It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many marketing teams are running campaigns and daily initiatives with no clear view of where their path should take them.
A clear destination means having a clear purpose or goal.
It’s vital that the goals of the marketing team are aligned with the goals of the business.
As a marketing agency, we work with a wide range of businesses to help them achieve their online goals. For the majority, the goal is to make more sales or to improve their online visibility.
What is your marketing teams ultimate goal? Is this clearly communicated? Take the time to sit down with your marketing manager this week and ask ‘What are we trying to achieve?’.
2) A Clear Roadmap
The destination tells you where you’re trying to go. A roadmap tells you how you’re going to get there.
Any marketing team worth their salt will have a strong, clear roadmap – their marketing plan.
This plan should show how we get from here to where we want to be. It should include marker points along the route that confirm you’re headed in the right direction.
For example, for our clients for whom the destination is to ‘make more sales’, the marker points along the way would include an increase in website traffic and an increase in websites linking back to yours.
Does your marketing team have a clear roadmap? Can they show you the marker points along the way?
3) Regular Progress Reports
If your marketing team has a clear destination and a roadmap to show how they will get there, they should also be providing you regular progress reports.
These reports can be as frequent as you like. If your level of trust is currently quite low, you might want a weekly or fortnightly report. But remember, many marketing initiatives take time to show their impact.
We find our clients appreciate a monthly progress report and this should be enough for most businesses. You should expect each report to include a reiteration of the destination, an explanation of the marker points the team was aiming for that month, and a clear report on what they have achieved.
4) Assessment of the Route
One of the most important jobs of a marketing team is to assess the viability and potential of the route taken at all times and to be aware of alternative routes along the way.
In our business, we explain this as measure, analyse, refine, a process through which we are constantly assessing our activities.
Your marketing team should be using data to assess the value and potential of the work they’re doing at all times.
How is your marketing team collecting data? Do they use that data?
For our clients, much of the data used to analyse their marketing success comes from web analysis tools such as Google Analytics, or you might consider implementing call tracking software such as that provided by Call Tracks to identify which marketing channels are delivering the results you need.
It’s time to bridge the gap between management and marketing. As a CEO or MD, you should be able to trust your marketing team.
If you’d like to talk to us about digital marketing for your business or to discuss anything covered in this article, email [email protected] or call 0115 948 0123.
Hallam Internet is a leading digital marketing agency based in Nottingham city centre. They provide a range of digital marketing services including search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search marketing (PPC) and digital strategy. Find out more at www.hallaminternet.com.
This article first appeared in the Nottingham Post, June 2014.