Finance directors often fail to fully recognise the true value of their company's brands and their suspicious attitude is holding back the UK economy, warns a new survey by the IPA and CIA Medianetwork.
The research follows a similar study in 1996 and found little improvement in the intervening years in the relationship between marketing directors and their finance directors. There is still a lack of mutual respect and understanding for each other's work.
There has, however, been some progress in the approach to accountability, which is now seen by finance directors as the most important attribute for senior marketing personnel. By contrast in 1996 it was seen as the least important, while financial literacy was the most valued attribute.
But although the expectations of marketing accountability have been raised amongst the financial community, the perceived delivery has not improved. Marketing measurement now appears to be moving away from the harder "till ringing" measures of sales volume and market share towards softer measure such as awareness. But the link back to return on investment is still either not being made or is not being effectively communicated.
David Fletcher, the head of CIA MediaLab, which co-ordinated the study, said: "Agencies are best placed to advise, recommend and to some extent implement systems of accountability. Obviously we have a vested interest in proving the value of what we and our marketing clients do."
However, the problems are exacerbated by the lack of marketing representation at board level in many client companies. In the majority of respondents' companies, responsibility for reporting on marketing issues falls to a non-marketing director.
On the back of these findings, leading industry trade bodies have launched a joint manifesto to encourage all major companies to instal a main board director with responsibility for marketing by the end of 2001. The manifesto has been signed by the IPA; ISBA, the advertiser body; The Marketing Council; the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Marketing Society.