Prove your worth: the CEO/marketing disconnect

Prove your worth: the CEO/marketing disconnect

William Lever is often quoted as saying, “I know half my advertising isn’t working, I just don’t know which half.” While I don’t know exactly when he made this statement, he established Lever Brothers (now part of Unilever) in 1886 and lived until 1925, so it was awhile ago.

I prefer take the “half full” view of what Lord Lever said – he acknowledged half of his advertising was working! Even still his comment is not a ringing endorsement and reflects an age-old problem: marketers need to prove their worth to the CEO.


Fast forward about 100 years and marketers continue to face the same issue. A 2011 Fournaise Group study highlights that 73% of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility, but 69% of marketers felt they do make a positive impact on the business, even though they can’t precisely quantify or prove it. 


The good news is today virtually everything we do in marketing is measureable, so long as the organization is committed and dedicates the necessary resources. In business to business marketing, our campaign strategies often involve generating leads in support of a direct sales process. These leads are the key to tying marketing’s impact to the bottom line.


By tracking closing percentages and actual sales against the marketing tactics/costs involved with generating the leads, marketing’s impact on revenue is demonstrated very quickly. Also, this tracking empowers marketers to evaluate which tactics provide relatively more ROI, and to optimize the campaigns over time. Do that and now the CEO looks at marketing not as a cost, but as an investment.

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