Marketing's restoration as a serious voice starts here

Seventy per cent of chief executives have lost trust in marketers’ ability to deliver growth after becoming frustrated by what they see as an inability to prove return on investment for campaigns, according to a Fournaise Marketing Group report.

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Ouch. That statistic stings a bit. But it gets worse. Not only do CEOs think marketers aren’t delivering ROI, the research claims that 70 per cent admit their lack of trust in CMOs is to blame for marketers’ poor reputation in business.

So not only are CEOs concerned about the value of their marketers, they are actively damaging the reputation of the discipline by being openly denigrating about it within their companies. That doesn’t bode very well for 2013, which by all accounts is set to be pretty challenging economically.

This climate explains why trade body ISBA is creating a cross-industry initiative to improve the standing of marketing within companies. Jon White, ISBA chairman and EMEA marketing director at Kimberly Clark, says the organisation is concerned about how “marketing has lost some of its influence in the boardroom” so it is taking action.

ISBA is not alone. The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s new chief executive Anne Godfrey has spoken to Marketing Week about the body’s new three-year strategy which aims to market its own value to the profession. It makes sense; if marketers are to prove their worth to employers, their own professional bodies must provide them with the tools to do so.

With all these questions about marketing’s value floating around, it’s the perfect time for us to run the inaugural results from the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Confidence Index. It’s a contradictory bundle of information that shows how confusing marketers are finding their unpredictable existence.

On the one hand, marketers see the same trend that the CEOs are picking up on. While marketers expect their companies to aim for higher financial targets in the year ahead, they do not see their marketing budgets being raised in line with the targets. The message is: marketers, do more with less. However, marketers are relatively confident in some areas. Almost half feel more confident about career prospects over the next 12 months than the past year and 60 per cent see a low risk to their job security.

In line with this more cheerful outlook comes an inbound supplement from our sister magazine Design Week, revealing the results of its Creative Survey. This sets out which design houses are receiving the most awards and plaudits for their work. With so much focus on ROI and the brutal realities of the boardroom, it is good to remember that branding also has a more creative side.

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