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Getting Boards to Get Marketing

New Guide for Directors


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3 June 2013: Australian company boards have been asking the wrong questions of their marketers - and those marketers need to help them reframe the conversation, according to a new study.

A paper being issued jointly by the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) and Deloitte concludes that it is up to marketers to work harder to speak the language of the board.

‘Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom – An Evaluation Framework for Boards and Directors’ also suggests board directors will benefit from a better understanding of marketers’ critical role in contributing to business strategy as well as to its development and execution.

To help address the perception gap, the marketing profession’s peak body and Deloitte are jointly publishing a 10-step evaluation framework** as the centre-piece of Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom, to assist board directors in gaining a better understanding of marketing’s role, its components and its impact on resources, risk, sustainability and performance.  The framework has been developed by a team of contributors, led by John Roberts, Professor of Marketing at the ANU and London Business School.

“There has been lots of attention paid to the importance of big data in shaping and executing business strategy, and better knowledge of marketing is emerging as a critical board need,” says AMI CEO Mark Crowe. “Our new paper is intended as a guide to help board directors understand the performance of their marketing activities, evaluate whether their business plans take full advantage of all available opportunities and adequately protect against environmental threats, and assess whether their marketing operations are resourced to succeed.”

Deloitte partner and CMO David Redhill adds: “Marketing needs to play a critical role in stepping up and showing the board what’s possible. To harmonise a coherent long-term business strategy with the need for short-term agility, the visions of both board and marketing need to be aligned. That’s what ‘Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom’ seeks to do: start bringing these two communities together to work more closely.”

The paper makes a case for marketing’s seat at the boardroom table in the new customer-centric world.

“In an era of major digital disruption, where many Australian businesses are responding too slowly to challenges posed by new, internet-based business models, boards need to respond to the increasing power of the connected customer, and focus their business strategy and operations on the customer’s needs,” according to David Redhill.

Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom will be issued at a number of Board Director Briefings and CFO Roundtables being organised by Deloitte and the Australian Marketing Institute over coming months.

**The ten step marketing evaluation framework (full version in Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom)

Previous Period Performance

  1. Identify marketing assets
  2. Identify the metrics being used to measure the health and performance of each marketing asset
  3. Identify changes to these existing metrics and the factors influencing these changes
  4. Assess the value added by marketing in the previous period

Future Performance

  1. Identify significant market issues, opportunities and risks and how they will be managed
  2. Assess whether the current marketing plan adequately takes advantage of opportunities available, relative to other feasible alternatives
  3. Evaluate period performance, based on planned marketing investment
  4. Understand potential competitive reactions and environmental uncertainties and develop contingency plans to mitigate their effects
  5. Assess whether the proposed level of investment in marketing assets is appropriate to realising strategic plans
  6. Develop metrics for monitoring performance in terms of application of resources (inputs), performance (outputs) and marketing efficiency (conversion)

Additional Comments on ‘Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom’

AMI CEO Mark Crowe: “Boards can simply not afford to be reactive in terms of setting their vision – they have to ensure their businesses are equipped to react quickly to market dynamics. Deloitte’s research indicates that feedback about execution of strategy is being provided to boards more frequently than before – as often as once per month – which is a promising development. However the benefit of this additional insight is negated by many boards’ widespread lack of exposure to marketing strategy and knowledge of how marketing works. It’s also holding boards back from fully embracing the marketing discipline at the top table.”

Deloitte partner and CMO David Redhill: “Our recent Board Effectiveness research with Chairs and CEOs of the ASX200 indicates that many Australian businesses in all sectors are reacting slowly to digitally disruptive change, and that those adapting their models are generally doing so because a competitor has already beaten them to it. It appears that the businesses being most profoundly disrupted are those that know the least about their customers, while the ones succeeding are the ones building their knowledge of their customers, deriving insights from their markets, and improving their marketing effectiveness and audience engagement through a continuous data feedback loop.”

Professor John Roberts:  “I would like to commend the Australian Marketing Institute and Deloitte for pooling their resources and tackling the difficult issue as to how marketing should be evaluated at the most senior level in the organisation: the Board. On the one hand, few would question that the main job of most boards is to ensure that earnings streams are protected and grown, and this occurs through well positioned products and services being sold to target markets who will value them and be prepared to pay for that value.  Both sides to this challenge, brand and product management and customer relations are primarily marketing problems.

“However, on the other hand, most boards (or at least those on which I have served), find it very hard to hold the marketing function to account, assessing whether its past performance was as effective as it might have been, and gauging whether its plans are as ambitious and realistic as they could be.  The problem is exacerbated by the fact that what represents ‘good’ marketing tends to be very specific to an individual organisation's environment.  In this brief document the AMI and Deloitte provide a framework (and ways of applying that framework) which I am sure will help boards to ask insightful and constructive questions of their marketing function, and to evaluate the quality of management's response to those questions.  As such, I am sure that it will go a long way to improving the communications between the board and the organisation's marketing. Improving the standard of debate about customer-facing activities, not just those undertaken by the marketing department will enable the organisation to recognise and realise its potential.

NB: See our media releases and research at www.deloitte.com.au

Copies of the report, ‘Marketing’s Role in the Boardroom – An Evaluation Framework for Boards and Directors’ can be found on the AMI’s website

Follow us – @DeloitteNewsAU & @AMI_Marketing

Last Updated: 

Contacts

Name:
Mark Crowe
Company:
Australian Marketing Institute
Job Title:
Chief Executive Officer
Phone:
Tel: +61 (0) 2 8256 1650
Email
mark.crowe@ami.org.au
Name:
David Redhill
Company:
Deloitte Australia
Job Title:
Chief Marketing Officer, Partner
Phone:
+61 (0) 2 9322 7494
Email
djredhill@deloitte.com.au
Name:
Ben Findlay
Company:
Deloitte
Job Title:
Communications Director
Phone:
Tel: +61 2 9322 7576; Mob: 0404 157 121
Email
bfindlay@deloitte.com.au

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