Why the CFO Doesn’t Care About Likes and Tweets

Marketers should share a very limited amount of information with the CEO and CFO, according to Marketo in their whitepaper The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics. The marketing firm says that Revenue Metrics and Marketing Program Performance Metrics, which document the impact of effort and investment and directly link it to revenue and profit, are the only relevant markers in the financial minds of business owners:

Soft metrics like brand awareness, GRP, impressions, organic search rankings and reach are important – but only to the extent that they quantifiably connect to hard metrics like pipeline, revenue, and profit.

While marketers are inclined to share with the C-Suite how many clicks and likes and pageviews their campaigns get, the CFO en CEO are more interested in how the Marketing department contributes to the company’s revenue. Marketers should learn to see business from their point of view and adjust the way they share information with other departments accordingly. If you can prove Marketing is a justifyable investment, Marketing will no longer be seen as a cost center, but as a valuable part of the organization. We agree strongly with this message, as we’ve also outlined in our slideshow The Real Value of Operational Marketing Excellence earlier.

But how to turn marketing goals into business goals? Marketo gives some helpful tips for ROI-minded marketers:

  1. Establish goals and ROI estimates up front: define your objectives, and make sure they’re quantifyable. This shows the CFO that you’re not only concerned with the budget required for a project, but have also thought about what you expect to make from it.
  2. Understand Best Case, Worst Case, and Risks Scenarios: don’t paint a too rosy picture – your plan should incluce a best case, worst case and expected case scenario. Try to include as many factors as possible, ranging from issues related to the program to a change in the economy.
  3. Design programs to be measurable: before you start measuring, realize that you need to answer these three questions: 1) What will you measure? 2) When will you measure? 3) How will you measure?
  4. Focus on the decisions that improve marketing: This means you must measure things not just because they are measurable – but because they will guide you towards the decisions you need to make to improve company profitability.

For more information on tracking and analyzing relevant marketing metrics, read the full whitepaper here.

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