When rebrands go wrong

(And how to avoid the pitfalls)

70% of CEOs have lost trust in marketers

The majority (70 per cent) of CEOs have lost trust in marketers’ ability to deliver growth after becoming frustrated by what they see as an inability to prove ROI on campaigns, according to a new report.


More than a third (69%) of CEOs say they have stopped enforcing key business objectives and indicators on marketers because they have “continuously failed” to prove marketing strategies and campaigns delivered business growth.

The report says that many CEOs have marketing departments “purely out of tradition” and have “made the conscious decision not to expect more from marketing than branding, look/feel good ads and promotions”.

CEOs feel marketers “live too much in the brand, creative and social media bubble”. They would like marketers to be more ROI focused and able to account for very pound spent and measure its positive impact on P&L.

Just 20 per cent of CEOs consider their top marketers to be ROI marketers but those that do believe they have a “solid influence” within the organisation and could go on to senior management.

The report by Fournaise Marketing Group is a follow up to a previous report earlier this summer which identified that 73 per cent of CEOs believe marketers lack credibility because they cannot prove the business impact of marketing.

However, of these CEOs, 70 per cent admit that their own lack of trust and attitude is to blame for the poor reputation of marketers.

Jerome Fontaine, Fournaise’s global CEO and chief tracker, says: “Whether we like it or not, what CEOs are telling us is clear cut: they don’t trust traditional marketers, they don’t expect much from them. CEOs have to deliver shareholder value. Period. So they want no-nonsense ROI Marketers, they want business performance, they want results.

“At the end of the day, Marketers have to stop whining about being misunderstood by CEOs, and have to start remembering that their job is to generate customer demand and to deliver performance. This is business. When is the last time you heard CFOs whine about being misunderstood by CEOs?”

The findings are part of the Fournaise 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, which has interviewed more than 1,200 CEOs across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Readers' comments (68)

  • 70% of Marketers have lost trust in CEO's

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  • It is as we say in Holland "kicking in a open door" ROI on Marketing is a must. How can you market your product without it in the end? ROI is always a must. I wonder if these CEO's ever checked or even wondered what happend. Now the panic takes them and blame everyone exceot themselves. CFO are not blamed right now as they are needed badly.

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  • That's what the CEOs get for showing age discrimination and skipping over older, seasoned marketing veterans like myself.

    The industries I was involved in *demanded* showing ROI including quantity of qualified leads and resulting. "Branding" wasn't done. Leads and sales were what mattered.

    Too bad today's hiring managers don't realize that there are a lot of advantages to hiring someone with experience. Knowledge of Twitter and Facebook is nothing if you don't get qualified people buying your product.

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  • We need to think and act like marketing has an investment portfolio. Alignment on goals and outcomes does not come after the fact; it comes before the investments are made. Do all your marketing investments line up with corporate/CEO objectives? How do you know?

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  • The issue is not new. Boards see Marketing as an expense and need to see the ROI whereas Marketing see's itself as investing in brands but cannot track the returns.
    Boards deal with cash flows and marketing battles to engage in this conversation. Marketers need to understand economics more.
    CEO's rightfully battle to grasp the concept of "likes" translating to sales and marketers cannot directly prove it hence the divide.
    The marketers job is to sell more stuff, to more people, more often, at a higher price.
    Marketers don't generally make it to the CEO chair because Boards don't think they get economics or have sufficient general management expertise. Marketers must work harder at proving what they do works and get up to speed with Board issues.

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  • There are great CEOs and great marketers.

    There are poor CEOs and poor marketers.

    There are CEOs that understand marketing.

    There are marketers that understand board needs and ROI.

    The problem is they don’t always work in the same organisation.

    Marketing is not just a department doing campaigns.

    Marketing is an attitude to business, to discovering, innovating and satisfying customer needs, profitably.

    Every one on the organisation has a role to play in this team delivery, everyone should understand their role, otherwise they shouldn’t be there.

    The issue is how to bridge the competency gap.

    The secret is to work cleverly and productively with Finance.

    Has anyone heard of ‘return on ideas’? – a seminal piece of work done by the DMA, CIMA and CIM on how to achieve better results from finance and marketing working together. Truly inspirational.

    Contact the DMA for a heads up.

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  • ...and I wonder what proportion of CEOs have lost faith in the ability of today's political elite to deliver economic growth? Answers on a p/card... ;)

    No question, marketers need to listen and get wired into their organisation's commercial agenda - that clearly means better communication and as much transparency between activity~outcome as they can give.

    But the fact is CEOs should be taking a healthy cut of the blame here. It's a two-way street folks - you are ultimately responsible for managing targets and ensuring your marketing teams are delivering value and shareholder return (remember that...?)

    If the agenda here is simply to say they're not delivering, therefore I can cut the overhead....well sorry, that's not good enough. Marketing is a fundamental business practice and skill and deserves a more grown-up debate.

    I sense frustration in these findings that go some way beyond marketing (however your typical CEO chooses to define 'marketing'). But everyone losing faith with everyone else helps absolutely no one.

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  • Whining marketers don't belong in the boardroom... http://bit.ly/AGILEci

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  • I would suggest these CEOs 'switch off' their marketing functions and see where it leaves them a couple of months down the line.

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  • Time was when marketing meant just that. Understanding the market and customers, developing great products and brands that resonate with those customers and communicating the brand and product value to the customers. It's NOT just about a single element. Latterly, it's extended into the customer service that's delivered at the moment of truth - cos if that fails all the rest is wasted. It should hold the rest of the organisation accountable to the customer - as the CEO holds it accountable to shareholders.

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