HomeBlog CMOs: Would Finance Basics Help You and the Marketing Team?

CMOs: Would Finance Basics Help You and the Marketing Team?

June 16, 2015 | By Alan Gonsenhauser

  • Understanding finance helps CMOs more effectively partner with CFOs and their teams
  • Investing in a shared analytical or numerical language can help.communication and ultimately improve the perception of marketing
  • Training on financial concepts and skills can improve the team's effectiveness

Having been a CMO after getting a finance degree, numbers and analytics were always second nature to me along with the creative side that keeps marketing really interesting. Understanding finance has helped me partner with CFOs and their teams because I could speak their language and surprise them with the unexpected. For example, have you ever suggested marketing cost reductions without first being asked?

In a recent SiriusDecisions research brief, I wrote about “Enhancing the CMO/CFO Relationship.” That brief included some key points to improve alignment and corporate success:

  • Improve the perception of marketing. CMOs should educate the CFO and finance about how marketing has changed over the years from primarily a creative and sales support function to a unit that drives key corporate goals such as revenue, cost efficiencies, profitability, customer experience, the brand, and ultimately valuations.
  • Common language. Learn to speak the language of the CFO using financial concepts applied to marketing programs.
  • Marketing dashboard. Partner with the CFO and his or her team to create a dashboard that frames marketing impacts and challenges related to cross-functional goals appreciated by the C-suite.
  • Collaboration. Develop a cadence for ongoing dialog and partnering on key business strategies and tactics in addition to the formal planning and budgeting processes.
  • CMO as general manager. To be a successful cross-functional team player, today’s CMO needs to be an effective general manager, balancing growth strategies, data analytics, process and P&L management

    Would some financial concept skills and training help you and your team’s effectiveness?

    Please tell us what you think with the following brief survey:

Alan Gonsenhauser

Alan Gonsenhauser is a Research Director of CMO and Marketing Executive Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He is passionate about accelerating growth, driving innovations and leading business transformations. At SiriusDecisions, he works closely with global chief marketing officers and sales and product leaders to drive positive organizational change and cross-functional alignment, benchmark against peers, and mobilize deployment of new marketing methods to accelerate innovation and growth. Follow Alan on Twitter @agonsenhauser.