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BEST PRACTICE: Talking to the top

It is only relatively recently that marketers have been allowed anywhere near boardrooms. Not so long ago most board members tended to see marketers as maverick figures who did work that was all very interesting and creative, but had little to do with the serious business of company strategy and profit generation that took place in the boardroom.

The relationship between today's marketing department and the board could not be more different. Marketing heads are increasingly pulled into the boardroom where they are expected to justify expenditure and advise on company direction. While some relish this increased scrutiny and enhanced responsibility, a sizeable proportion resist it. They see it as an unreasonable imposition on their time and autonomy.

Chris Halliburton, professor of international marketing at ESCP Europe Business School, believes it is time marketers began to focus more on their communication with the board. “Marketing metrics have been insufficiently represented at board level for a number of reasons,” he says. “Board members tend to to be preoccupied with short term financial results rather than longer term brand equity. Also marketers often lack the ability to explain the relevance of marketing metrics.”