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how does marketing get a seat at the boardroom table

Only 26% of CMO’s regularly attend board meetings according to the Board Practices Report from Deloitte so why is marketing so under represented in the boardroom?

What can CMO’s and others in the top marketing job in an organisation to to make sure they’re involved in these discussions more regularly?

This is a subject that’s very close to my own heart (it’s the Mission of The Future of Marketing) – as it was ultimately the absence of a board position in my last full time role as an employee that led to me start my own business at BlueSky Video Marketing.

This is a story that we see repeated a lot in the marketing profession and it’s widely accepted that of all the functions required to make a business operate efficiently and successfully, marketing is the one that is often the last to the boardroom party (if an invite is ever extended).

Peter Craven is the Founder of The Future of Marketing and Bluesky Video Marketing.  He established BlueSky Video Marketing in June 2017 having spent 20 years in global marketing roles.  Peter is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a volunteer with Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, an avid Manchester United fan (it’s been a tough few years) and a man who stubbornly refuses to accept that he’s rubbish at golf and keeps trying anyway.

There is an interesting article published by Think by Google UK which offers some advice to marketers about how they can address this issue and ensure that the opportunities to reach a boardroom position are made available to them.

1 – Prove marketing is driving growth

We’ve never had a much access to data and analytics and this is a welcome development in our drive to prove the value that marketing adds to the organisation.

As you’d expect, the article from Think by Google leans heavily on the digital analytics and data that is now available but what about the offline channels?

We need to make sure we’re able to report on these as well.

2 – Report on the right metrics

At board level, the discussions are focused around business impact (revenue and profit) and not what Think by Google refers to as the ‘media & marketing metrics’ (reach, engagement etc).

That’s not to say we ignore the ‘media and marketing metrics’ in discussions with our own teams around campaign optimisation – just that we make sure we speak the language of the boardroom when we’re in the boardroom.

3 – The CFO is your ally

They may be the biggest sceptic in the organisation when it comes to marketing – so build a rapport and show that you understand the fundamentals of business growth and are focused on the same things as they are.

When you’re in the boardroom conversations and you have an ally in the CFO or Finance Director, that will be noticed by the others in the room.

4 – Lean on your customer knowledge.

That – my friends – is leverage.

Because CMO’s are the closest company leaders to customers, in a rapidly changing, customer centric world they are well positioned to prioritise strategic shifts.

Think by Google UK, Tara Walpert Levy, Nicolas Darveau-Garneau/March 2021

5 – Transform the Customer Experience

Understand every touch point your customer has with your organisation and work out how to make it better, easier, faster.

The marginal gains from this approach will undoubtedly lead to better customer experience, better conversion rates, more sales and increased profitability by removing inefficiencies from the process.

The holy grail of most board meetings is an unquestionably loyal band of customers who just keep coming back for more – this is a reality that most of us will never bear witness to but by forensically examining each touch point (both human and virtual) you can have a significant impact on the results being achieved.

Prove the value of marketing – done well.

All of these approaches combine to enhance not only your own personal reputation within your organisation, but the reputation of marketing as a whole.

This helps us as a community to ensure that marketing earns its seat at the boardroom table.

peter craven bluesky video marketing

About the author

Peter Craven is the Founder of The Future of Marketing and Bluesky Video Marketing.

He established BlueSky Video Marketing in June 2017 having spent 20 years in global marketing roles.

Peter is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a volunteer with Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, an avid Manchester United fan (it’s been a tough few years) and a man who stubbornly refuses to accept that he’s rubbish at golf and keeps trying anyway.

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