Just read in today’s BizReport that “CEOs Think Marketers Too “Fluffy” and Not Business-Minded” (http://www.bizreport.com/2011/06/73-of-ceos-think-marketers-lack-business-credibility.html). It talks about a new marketing survey from The Fournaise Marketing Group (http://www.fournaisegroup.com/) that cites the ways CEOs feel marketers speak “fluff” and not “P&L.” Number 1 among their list of annoyances is that marketers spend too much time on brand equity or awareness, and jump on marketing trends such as Social Media, but not enough time on the connection to the bottomline.
On some level, it’s true. Marketers do focus on brand awareness. Or brand experiences. Or brand equity. And they use tools, such as Social Media, to share those brand experiences to build brand equity.
As a consequence, 77% of the CEOs surveyed viewed are frustrated with marketers.
I believe their frustration lies in the wrong place. Marketers are on the right path to building their CEO’s sales and revenue numbers. The not-so-simple problem is that there isn’t a way to measure — or show direct correlation — between these brand building efforts and the bottom line. Yet.
No one’s come up with it. And in a business world where it’s seemingly product life and death between Q1 and Q2 — and more and more businesses manage by quarters, rather than long-term — the lack of a theorem that goes directly to sales results is giving plenty of CEOs heart palpitations.
That said, there are things Social Media can measure. And as much as qualitative results don’t seem to mean much to the CEOs surveyed — they should. After all, it’s already been proven that conversations with consumers (via Brand web pages or Facebook Fan pages, for example) have led to improvements in products and services, and ultimately increased loyalty and sales. There’s just no exact science ratio.
And a Facebook Fan page – for example – may seem frivolous to the CEO, but it’s a marketing channel to brand ambassadors who basically have more than 200 friends who believe them more than an ad in the paper.
Somehow we have to come up with more measurement that links these qualitative measures to sales. But in the meantime, CEOs have to give marketers (and PR and Social Media folk) more than a quarter or two to devise ways prove the link between brand building and cases sold.