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B2B Institute launches framework to improve CMO and CFO relationships

12 Nov 2020  |  Mike Fletcher 
B2B Institute launches framework to improve CMO and CFO relationships

The B2B Institute, a think-tank set up within LinkedIn, has developed a Value framework to help CMOs develop the skills and fluency for a more effective partnership with their company CFO.

The framework was developed following research, conducted in partnership with the IPA and featuring a year’s worth of interviews with CMOs and CFOs from over 50 businesses worldwide.

The research found that across many organisations, finance teams have evolved to work with data, analytics, strategy and pricing. While an increasing number of CFOs have little faith in the value of marketing to drive the financial objectives of the company. This is due in part to the Marketing Science Institute statistic that only 2.6% of brands have a marketing experienced board member.

Detailed by Jennifer Shaw-Sweet, EMEA lead at B2B Institute during Mediatel Events’ recent Marketing to the CFO webinar, the Value framework is designed to help CMOs to stop ceding influence and opportunities to contribute to strategic decision making. It features five key areas.

First, it helps marketers to understand how value is created within the organisation and how it is created for customers and prospects. This requires understanding of the value of long-term brand building and the communication of its commercial benefits to the financial team.

The framework then explains how accepting accountability to the organisation, using the language of business and value creation, scaling an understanding of how an effective marketing function is central to commercial objectives, and creating an evidence-based mindset by using value-based metrics, can all help to increase alignment between marketing and finance agendas.

“A healthier relationship between CFOs and CMOs will help marketers back into a more strategic role that will drive growth and profit,” Shaw-Sweet said. “The framework provides a manual for marketers to broaden the contribution of their discipline, to reframe their use of language and data, and to regain relevance and trust with the C-suite. Right now, it could be the difference between having the budget to spend and not getting that investment.”

Following Shaw-Sweet’s presentation, Mediatel News’ columnist Jan Gooding discussed improving the relationships between CMOs and CFOs with a panel featuring Mediaocean’s CMO Aaron Goldman, TSB Bank’s CMO Pete Markey and CFO UK at GroupM, Charlotte Frijns.

“As the finance professional, I don’t believe such a disconnect between the CMO and the CFO exists,” Frijns said. “Communication between all teams within a business is very important and I’ve only ever seen open dialogue with marketing.”

TSB’s Markey however, could better relate to the B2B Institute’s findings. He said: “I’ve experienced rockier roads in the past. Where I’ve seen the relationship between finance and marketing become problematic has been due to a mis-alignment of metrics and measurement, a lack of connection, and a mis-understanding of what marketing is trying to do and how it drives growth. I’ve been asked ‘what’s marketing’s return’ consistently over my career and I’ve always had to work really hard on my relationships with finance in order to justify both short-term and long-term return.”

Goldman also attributes a disconnect between marketing and finance to the difference in language. He said: “When there’s a lack of empathy and understanding, you end up talking past each other.”

To hear the full discussion on 'Marketing to the CFO', visit the on-demand Mediatel webinar.

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