Will Marketing and Finance Ever Get Along?

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Marketing and finance aren't known for being best buddies. In fact, the two departments are often pitted against each other. Finance thinks their department is more important because they control the money. Marketing thinks they are more important because they are behind the company's brand and image, so they actually help the company generate revenue. In truth, a company needs both departments to survive.  

So why don't these two just get along? 

Communication issues

Marketing and finance tend to speak different languages. Finance is all about the numbers. They want hard facts, solid numbers, and an airtight budget. Marketing is a little more fluid (but don't buy into the belief that they are all creative types). The real issue is that the two departments often use different software and systems to track investments and expenses. This makes it difficult for them to stay on the same page. 

Resentment

The marketing department can grow to resent the finance department, especially if a company's budget is tight. Marketing might have grand plans, but with no money to fund them, finance becomes the bad guy. And that makes finance resent marketing because they are simply doing their job and keeping the company on budget. 

The ROI Battle

Finance is all about Return on Investment, but it isn't always easy to measure the ROI of marketing ventures. Ed See, the co-president of Marketing Management Analytics, noted in a CFO article that “Marketing executives are under a lot of pressure to show exactly how investments in the brand translate into sales.” That pressure is often exacerbated by the lack of cooperation between the two departments. 

 

The tension between the two departments is becoming more apparent every year. The latest sentiment study from the CFO Alliance revealed that CFOs are becoming increasingly aware of that tension. More than 50% of CFOs identified sales or marketing as the department most difficult to collaborate with. 

But there is good news. 30% of CFOs want to focus on better collaboration in 2017, especially with their marketing counterparts. In particular, many CFOs want to help their marketing department understand addressable markets. That's why 41% of CFOs surveyed indicated they would allocate funds on market research for this very reason. 

It's clear that everyone knows both marketing and finance are essential elements to the company. No business could exist without both the marketing and finance department, and neither department could exist without the other. Maybe 2017 is finally the year these two will get along.