By Jim Wong, CPA | July 23, 2014

Can’t we all just get along?

Over the past decade, most agree that marketing initiatives have skyrocketed across all industries. With companies vying for top rating over their competition and the onset of social media marketing, businesses are aggressively branding, positioning and overall marketing in order to beat out the competition. In fact, just as accounting, finance and IT departments are crucial components to a company, marketing has moved passed being an elective part of a business into an integral contributor. But, what does that mean for the highest role in marketing—the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)? Well, one would think that any C–level executive would be treated similarly, right? Turns out, that may not necessarily be the case.

Research shows that marketing’s head honcho doesn’t always get as much love and respect as a CFO, CIO or CEO — particularly because of his or her inability to report on (you guessed it) financials and return on investment. With companies looking closer and closer at their accounting and finances with the onset of strict reporting regulations and legislation in recent history, it’s now as important as ever to be accountable for each dollar spent.

What the Research Shows

When surveyed, CMOs (77 percent) and CFOs (76 percent) agreed that it’s important to be in sync with each other. However, the percentages were much lower when asked how bad it really is if they’re not. Only 45 percent of both C–levels answered that there are negative consequences from not being in sync with each other.

The inconsistencies don’t stop there. When it comes down to priorities, CMOs report that they focus on business development, while—to no surprise—CFOs put most of their attention on financial priority.

The differences in priorities might also be why the research shows CFOs and CIOs tend to be more closely connected to CEOs, with CMOs standing more in the backfield. However, that is just more reason for CFOs, CIOs and CMOs to join forces.

What does it mean?

Marketing needs to be quantified in order to better align with the wants and needs of CFOs, and ultimately, reach the CEO. Across all industries and professions, there’s no argument that marketing has come a long way, but as it gets more closely related to a company’s financials, the areas of gray need to decrease so that a true ROI can be determined.

If everyone works together to move the company in one overall direction, while giving the financials the attention that CFO’s want, harmony can and will be able to exist between all C–level suites.

What can you do?

MarketingProfs offers CMOs four tips to better align with CFOs and other C–level executives like CIOs and CEOs:

1. Share information on a regular basis.
It might sound like a broken record but effective communication is the key to success with any company. Tell your accounting, finance, and even IT, departments the details of your marketing initiatives. When everyone knows the purpose, budget and anticipated results, you’re more likely to get buy–in from them.
2. Establish common ground.
It’s important to collaborate. Bring in the CFO and CIO when updating your budgets or reallocating marketing dollars. The less surprises the better and the CFO and CIO will appreciate your proactivity.
3. Succeed Long–term.
While CFOs and CIOs tend to think long–term, bringing short–term successes that are clearly quantifiable to the table will satisfy their needs and further bring everyone onto the same page.
4. Create common a language.
If each department has its own buzz words or regularly–used phrases, think about jumpstarting new ones that only pertain to marketing and finance departments.

What other tips can CMOs, CFOs and CIOs use to get further on the same page? Comment below and let us know!

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