Building financial acumen in marketing
Building financial acumen in marketing

Building financial acumen in marketing

Together, CFOs and CMOs can identify the best strategy for building marketing’s financial acumen.

Today’s marketers need either creative and financial experience or risk being replaced by chief revenue or growth officers. The CFO can help.

Fact: marketing helps drive revenues. Still, most CMOs struggle to “quantify and communicate” the value marketing generates for the business, according to recent research conducted by Forbes CMO Practice.[1]

To effectively prove ROI and other key performance indicators in marketing activities — and how they tie to the overall performance of the company — marketers need to think beyond their creative side and develop stronger financial acumen. Simply put, marketers need to understand the impact of marketing spending, including how to budget and get more value from their campaigns. Marketing organizations that build strong financial capabilities experience a 5 percent greater ROI on marketing investments and 7 percent increase in growth.[2]

Among the key challenges: a lack of value placed on financial acumen and reliance on immature financial process methodologies and a lack of access to marketing-specific financial tools.

The CFO is best positioned to identify the marketing skill deficiencies creating the greatest organizational problems and to bring expertise and resources to assist with building and deploying marketing financial training. Together, CFOs and CMOs can identify the best strategy for building marketing’s financial acumen.

Getting started

  • CMOs need to recognize and champion the importance of financial skills in marketing. This requires a mindset shift and reprioritization of skills sought in new hires and championing the importance of financial acumen in driving marketing success among the existing marketing organization. Marketers need to recognize and accept their responsibility for managing marketing investments wisely.
  • CFOs need to embrace their role in helping to build financial expertise in marketing and commit to providing skilled staff to assist, guide and coach as marketing engages in key financial processes.
  • The CMO and the CFO need to build appreciation for each other’s functional areas and responsibilities. Job shadowing can help. By having finance employees spend time in marketing and marketing employees spend time in finance the two functions can better understand each other’s processes and identify opportunities to work together more effectively.
  • Together, the CMO and CFO can identify and prioritize skill gaps and develop a plan for skill building.

Building lasting business acumen in marketing

To retain credibility and respect among C-Suite executives in future, CMOs need to talk the language of finance. By working with the CFO and finance, marketing will be in a better position to drive organizational objectives. Learn more about building marketing financial acumen here.

[1] Marketing Accountability: A CEO Blueprint”, Forbes CMO Practice, 2017
[2] ibid