Marketers Bemoan Intra-Accountability

CHICAGO Marketers are growing increasingly frustrated with their marketing accountability practices and the inability to communicate their goals to other corporate groups, particularly financial departments, according to the Association of National Advertisers’ fourth annual accountability study.

The study, which was conducted in conjunction with Marketing Management Analytics, found that 92 percent of all companies have some kind of accountability process in place. While 31 percent of those programs are managed through the marketing department, nearly a quarter of them are run through informal and grass-roots efforts. Only 20 percent are a shared responsibility among a company’s marketing, financial and IT departments.

“A company’s ability to make effective marketing decisions requires relevant and targeted metrics and measurements,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, in a statement. “It is incumbent upon marketing to work cohesively with all cross-functional teams to establish common goals and processes to determine if those goals have been reached. It is clear from this study that although progress has been made, there is a substantial gap that still needs to be bridged.”

Nearly half of all marketing executives expressed dissatisfaction with current marketing accountability practices. Some 48 percent of the executives said there was poor organizational response to marketing ROI data, compared with 32 percent in last year’s survey. Forty-two percent of the respondents were dissatisfied with measurement systems, up from 35 percent, while 45 percent said they were frustrated with a lack of ROI definition, up from 25 percent the previous year.

Even so, many marketing executives also said there’s not enough cross-departmental communication about accountability. While more than 60 percent said there was “some” cooperation between the marketing and finance departments, only 22 percent said there was “full” cooperation. More than half said the two departments don’t share common metrics.

Just over half (55 percent) of the marketers surveyed said their marketing ROI goals were in line with their company’s corporate goals. Some 51 percent of them also said there were no written goals for marketing ROI.

The top marketing effectiveness measures include changes in brand awareness, changes in market share and changes in consumer attitude, according to the respondents. Return on objectives was only cited by 36 percent of the respondents as a measurement tool, despite the fact that 70 percent of them cited it as an important factor.

The study was conducted in July, surveying more than 200 senior-level marketing executives through online surveys.