Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Industry reacts to view that marketers lack credibility

Top industry bodies have reacted to a report that suggests 73% of CEOs feel marketing professionals lack credibility and views from Merlin’s chief executive that young marketing executives are “too siloed” to be successful in the boardroom.

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Sherilyn Shackell, founder and CEO of the Marketing Hall of Legends, says it is a “myth” that the modern marketer is driven by winning awards for campaigns and that marketers are acutely aware of their direct contribution to the profit and loss of companies.

She says: “CMOs such as Amanda Mackenzie, Andy Fennell and Sally Cowdry who have a seat in the board room are ensuring that their entire teams are driven by commercial objectives.”

Shackell adds that leaders such as Martin Glenn, Gavin Patterson and Allan Leighton “completely disprove” the assumption that marketers are too siloed to become CEOs.

“I believe that exceptional business leaders have the ability to influence and engage, the courage to take risks and a healthy regard for both insight and data,” she says.

The Marketing Hall of Legends runs the Marketing Academy, the coaching and mentoring scheme that develops the talent of future potential marketing leaders. The Academy is sponsored by brands including ITV, Microsoft, O2, Kraft Foods and Marketing Week.

Roderick Wilkes, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), says that marketers need to have a voice in the boardroom if organisations are ever going to effectively align their operations.

A Deloitte and CIM report found last year that 49% of companies are not using a customer or marketing measure to inform board level decision making.

Wilkes adds: “Whilst marketers are measuring, if they aren’t doing this effectively or presenting it to the board in a meaningful way, then this becomes a commercial sticking point.

“As we mark the centenary of [the CIM] this year, it is saddening that this seems to still be the case.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • I blogged about this a while back after an exchange over Twitter with Mark Choueke when the issue of marketers not making it in the boardroom first came out ( http://bit.ly/iikDz1). And I stand by those comments - I think that some marketers aren't able to translate what they're doing into the bottom line, and defend it in those terms in the board room.

    I think it's so important for marketers to understand the whole business and to apply this into real bottom-line stuff that the CEOs can understand.

    The issue of ROI and evaluation is key here - as is translation of those results into boardroom reports.

    In my day job, I have to continually work to make the added-value of communications understood by those at the top of the board table. But that's a good thing, as the Directors are now looking at communications as an integrated part of the business (including brand and reputation management), not just as a nice bolt-on.

    I wonder how many companies offer their teams (not just marketers) the chance to spend a day in someone else's shoes? Would this, perhaps, break down not only the marketing silos but the silos across all areas of the business?

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  • I'm surprised marketers don't defend themselves by citing the fragmentation of media and the rise of the social sphere online. Even geniuses would struggle with what's happening now.

    It seems to me, few marketers are ready to handle the online realm effectively and may be afraid there is no place for them in it. Business and marketing are reorganizing and I guess UK businesses are under especially intense pressure to squeeze out profits. The ROI pressures are a good thing in the long run. Change is difficult.

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