A quarter of marketers say relationship with finance has improved

A quarter of marketers say relationship with finance has improved

Finance and marketingOne in four (25%) marketers say their relationship with the finance team has improved since the start of their careers.

Just 8% of the 350 marketers surveyed exclusively for Marketing Week by YouGov Surveys say the relationship with finance has deteriorated since their careers began, while more than half (53%) believe their bond with finance has “stayed about the same”. 

By comparison, only 15% of the 360 people working in finance report their relationship with marketing has improved. Some 47% of the sample say the relationship is unchanged, while 6% report it getting worse.

While both marketers and people in finance are more likely to have seen an improvement in the relationship between the two business functions over their careers rather than a deterioration, the research suggests overall the relationship remains decidedly lukewarm.

Trust, honesty, mutual respect: The B2B recipe for uniting marketing and finance

Finance teams (38%) are more likely to describe their relationship with marketing in their current role as “neither positive or negative”, than positive (36%). However, just 4% describe it as negative. 

By contrast, almost half (48%) of marketers say their current relationship with finance is positive, with 35% describing it as a neutral relationship. Only 7% of the marketing sample see the relationship with finance as negative.

While more than one in five (21%) people working in finance say they “don’t know” about their relationship with marketing, this figure halves to 10% among marketers. 

Communicating effectiveness

Proving marketing’s worth and knowing which metrics are valued by the finance team as important components of building the relationship between the two functions.

Both samples were asked by YouGov Surveys to select three metrics they believe are important for marketing to share with finance to demonstrate effectiveness.

New customer acquisition (36%) is most important metric the finance team want marketing to share to demonstrate effectiveness, followed by return on investment (31%) and customer retention rates (23%).

When asked the same question, marketers cited ROI as the number one metric finance would want to see (48%), followed by delivering business outcomes (35%) and conversion rates (29%). The number one metric for finance – new customer acquisition – was ranked fourth by marketers at 23%.

While delivering business outcomes comes out as the second highest-ranked metric for marketers, just 22% of those in finance agree this is among the most important metrics to share.

Almost half of marketers say brands ‘too focused’ on ROI

Finance colleagues also appear less interested in customer lifetime value (11%), than marketers (15%). Campaign cut-through was ranked equally low as a metric of interest to finance among marketers (3%) and their finance peers (2%).

The new research paints a similar picture to Marketing Week’s Language of Effectiveness Survey of 1,610 brand-side marketers, which found almost half (48.4%) say return on investment (ROI) is the most important metric for their CEO, CFO and board members, followed by delivering business outcomes (39.9%) and new customer acquisition (35.8%).

The Language of Effectiveness data found almost half (47.6%) of marketers believe their employer is too focused on the ROI of marketing spend when examining effectiveness.

Greater understanding

Marketing and finance are both aligned in believing communication is the most important element of the relationship between the two functions.

Over half (51%) of marketers say an understanding of business strategy and the role marketing plays is the key thing they need from finance to ensure an effective relationship. Some 37% of their finance peers report needing the same from marketing.

Marketers are also looking for shared objectives (37%) and certainty over budgets (36%) to make the relationship work, followed by regular business updates (27%). Some 17% of marketers are interested in having training on how to use finance systems. 

Almost a third (32%) of those in finance say marketing sharing their progress against objectives is one of the most important aspects of an effective relationship, although they are also keen on having shared objectives (26%).

The research also reveals a quarter (24%) of those in finance believe knowing the marketing team care about the P&L and want to hit it is central to an effective working relationship. Some 21% of those surveyed in finance see the value in holding regular budget updates with marketing.

While 20% see the importance of gaining a better understanding of marketing activities, a further 18% of finance colleagues say they would benefit from having face to face time with the marketing team.

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