Can Finance Unleash Marketing’s Potential?


The CMO Council’s new report Marketing & Finance: Fueling Innovation Or Falling Behind? examines how economic adversity will test the marketing-finance relationship’s resolve for collaboration and innovation. Here’s an excerpt of the report:

Economic headwinds have arrived, and chances are, you’re not prepared. According to this study, only 10% of marketing leaders strongly believe their marketing investments, whose reins are often held by finance, position them to emerge from economic turmoil ahead of the competition.

Worse, marketers know finance puts budgets, including the marketing spend, under the microscope in times like these. Yet marketing is expected to help the company weather the storm, get ahead of disruption, and zigzag to the customer sweet spot. If you 27% want to right the ship, you’ll need to allow for agility and innovation.

Further, our study also found that only 16% of marketing leaders feel very confident in their marketing-finance alignment to make fast and agile investments. Too many marketers are unsatisfied in their ability to innovate.

If marketing and finance wish to successfully navigate economic headwinds, they’ll need to redefine their working relationship and align on financially responsible growth strategies that prioritize smart, realizable, innovative investments.

What’s At Stake

When a CMO has earned a seat at the leadership table and is seen as a business driver, the CMO is likely to enjoy a higher level of confidence in their investments. They’re generally more satisfied with marketing’s relationship with finance when it comes to four cornerstone capabilities: innovation, agility, collaboration, performance. 

A strong marketing-finance connection makes marketers more innovative. CMOs and CFOs who work well together cite marketing analytics, machine learning, and automation as immediate areas of focus in the next 12 months, making them more predictive and able to quickly meet changes in market and buyer behavior.

However, CMOs and CFOs who lack strong alignment aren’t very confident in their marketing investments and are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with cornerstone capabilities. After marketing analytics, they’re focused on short-term, business-as-usual investments in brand marketing, digital media and search, social media, etc.

Challenge: Different Perspectives

For better alignment, marketing leaders will have to more closely align with finance leaders. Marketers have cited the following areas where deeper collaboration is needed: metrics and goals (27%), priorities and incentives (25%), risk assessment (22%), timetables (11%).

For Uptempo CMO Jim Williams, overcoming different perspectives— or rather, siloed perspectives — is the key to unlocking marketing’s agility, velocity, and ability to pivot. Stronger connections between budget and marketing planning, execution, and performance lift the “fog of marketing,” he says, and give visibility across marketing and finance teams.

“Once you have that visibility, it becomes much easier to activate your programs and campaigns and move at the speed that the market desires,” Williams says.

Character Traits of Collaboration

So what makes a good marketing-finance relationship?

Our study found that co-ownership of customer data (along with ease of sharing) plays a central role. More than ever, marketing budgets and investment decisions rely on data validation. 

Marketing and finance need to be working off the same data insights. But there’s a long way to go in achieving that goal. Only 18% of marketing leaders strongly believe both finance and marketing have the same timely access to insightful, reliable, accurate, and integrated customer data, transactional information, and market intelligence to inform marketing investments.

What You’ll Learn

With economic adversity and uncertainty ahead, the CMO Council and KPMG embarked on an extensive study to understand how marketing and finance can redefine their working relationship to align on financially responsible growth strategies.

We explore areas of alignment such as co-ownership of customer data, how to better align, use of a common language, and more. We also show how a better marketing-finance relationship can impact innovation, agility, collaboration, and performance of their investments. 

Marketing & Finance: Fueling Innovation Or Falling Behind? is based on a survey of over 275 marketing leaders across industries and geographies. Additionally, we conducted in-depth interviews with marketing executives from Schneider Electric, The Vitamin Shoppe, Fiserv, Agios, and others. Download the full report.

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