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Our thoughts on the latest developments impacting your business.

United we stand!

Are you sitting comfortably? Well let’s begin.

Once upon a time there was a large band of ‘unscrupulous’ men and women. They worked in environments that were usually ultra-competitive, exceptionally
challenging and demanding of their vision, skill and judgment. Their role was
full of numerous pitfalls, but nonetheless it was their job to make their
employers products look, feel, taste, sound and perform superbly well
regardless of the competition’s best efforts.  They took their inspiration from the likes of: Ogilvy, Burnett, Kotler, Abraham et al and would wax lyrical about brand building and advertising, often spending large sums of money on creative concepts, packaging, copywriting and promotional campaigns. What was the name of this group of people? Marketers!

CIMA_Logo_SpotLining up against them were the company’s financiers, the ‘good guys’, whose job it was to ring fence the firms’ money from those woolly, unscrupulous risk takers. Being ‘diametrically opposed’ to the marketers, the financiers were far more cautious when it came to spending and hence a ‘mistrust’ developed.

Of course for those who don’t have a better appreciation of these disciplines that view that will continue to remain unchallenged for a while. However, there are those of us who did not subscribe to this simplistic view in the first place, and through a closer working relationship between the institute to which I belong, the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), we are now beginning to see the winds of change seeping through attitudes towards this common misconception, particularly in progressive businesses with professional standards.

Two things are contributing to this change in attitude, the global financial crisis which forced companies to bring in greater austerity measures and the associated migration towards increased use of social media.

Whilst these two effects drive each other, I do wonder that had traditional advertising been able to show immediate or visible returns for those smaller companies who used it, if social media would have taken hold the way that it has? That being said social media does allow all businesses to broadcast messages quickly and efficiently and allow us to measure numerous KPI’s, in fact everything from re-tweets and favourites, to negative and positive mentions, likes and recommendations and the performance of web pages. Thankfully, with numerous tools available for online monitoring, marketers can now do more to reassure those financiers who sanction our budgets that not only do we have the best intentions, but we’re doing much more to measure their results.

Consequently, for those marketers who can demonstrate they share the same goals and objectives as the financiers, these two disciplines can, when they work together, yield far better outcomes for the business.

Recently, The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) fronted an event which it partnered with The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to discuss the subject of ‘Branding’ and specifically whether this element was a strategic investment, or marketing luxury? The event brought together around twenty marketers and accountants to talk about their perceptions and facts of each others occupations. Those marketers who were present championed our discipline and the financial benefit positive branding can have on generating profit and increasing a company’s share price. The marketers gave many examples which showed that regardless of our profession (marketers or financiers), we are all consumers that have a desire for specific brands. But what we completely agreed on was that it is not accurate to think of marketers as spenders or financiers as frugal, both should share these traits of course, but both should be looking to generate a return on expenditure and both are capable of revenue generation.

What today’s marketers must do, is to use their skill and the tools at their disposal whilst appreciating the need for accurate commercial and financial forecasting. If they don’t, they will make their task all the harder and be forever seen as those ‘woolly unscrupulous risk-takers’. However, with the option to work closely with the company’s accountants and financial controllers, they will have always have someone else in the organisation who is there to assist, not criticise. Perhaps then we can develop a mutual respect for one another’s problems?

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