marketing is losing its seat at the boardroom table

Back in the Noughties/2000’s, almost every big brand boardroom had a Marketing Director. That’s much less the case now, with marketing essentially becoming a ‘soft’ discipline. In 2015, only 35 of the US Fortune 1,000 companies had a marketing director on the executive board. In the FTSE100, the number was only slightly better.

I could write an entire dissertation about the factors that have led to this, but round my way I’m known for keeping it short and sweet, so here’s a few things that I recon have helped downgrade Marketing out of the C-Suite:

  • It can be pretty challenging to prove the effectiveness of marketing spend, particularly in terms of investment in brand value or when associating offline spend with online gains
  • A fast-moving world means having to sweat the small stuff (how will the cricket final affect us? what have we spent on PPC this week?) reducing time to think about the big stuff, making the role inevitably less strategic and of less interest/importance to the Board
  • Few senior marketeers have a sufficiently commercial viewpoint, particularly when the market is moving so fast that they need a 3 day as well as a 3 month and 3 year viewpoint
  • Even fewer really ‘get’ what data and insight could/can do and can communicate this both up and downstream
  • And even fewer still have the skills, knowledge and inclination to work closely with IT to ensure that the front end and back end of the business are aligned
  • Procurement departments are increasingly commoditising marketing services on a lowest cost basis, essentially downgrading both the status of the specialism and the quality of services provided (Do they want it Good, Fast or Cheap? Procurement need to choose two!)
  • IT, Data/Insight, HR, Ethics and Customer-First have all been vying for a seat at the table, leaving even less room for Marketing

So modern Marketing Directors essentially need to be expert in Digital, Data, e-Business, Sales and IT as well as their own specialism…at least then they’ll end up as great CEOs.

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