Why Marketing and Finance Needs to be More Joined Up


Nick Mason



In recent years, marketing has progressed in leaps and bounds with regards to its reputation within enterprise businesses. The knowledge that marketing is important to obtaining the varied goals of a business is generally accepted and widespread.

There is still a large gap, however, in the communication between marketing departments and Financial Directors. It is crucial that this gap is closed because FDs are so important when it comes to company decision making. If the FD recognises that marketing strategies are a valuable investment, this will lead to higher budgets in the future and positive company-wide recognition.

How do we close the gap?
As marketers, we are often unable to speak the language of FDs and provide them with the data that can deliver ROI figures that is of value to financial planning for the future. As a result, marketing spend as a percentage of company revenue in the UK and North America has fallen in the past two years.

So what can we do about this? How can we engage with the people that make financial decisions and show them the importance of marketing content in producing business sales? The answer lies in insights. As marketers, we need to improve the detail and direction of these, so we have evidence of how our content influences its readers, leading to monetary gain and return on investment.

A brief history of marketing insights
The insights we gain from marketing content are often referred to as vanity metrics. These include reach, impressions and clicks in the context of social media, and downloads and open rates when it comes to other content. The problem with these is that they tell a story of how many people are engaging with content rather than how they are engaging with it. For FDs, the story is incomplete. 1,000 people may have downloaded that pdf, but who actually read it? How many of its views led to business leads and ultimately sales?

The future of marketing insights
If marketers are to convince FDs as to the value of marketing within their businesses, they need to take things up a notch. Here are some examples of insights that will benefit the communication of marketers with FDs:

• Sectional analytics – The ability to see which individual sections are being read (or ignored), means decisions can be made as to what to focus on when producing content in the future.

Reporting this detail in engagement will not only improve the relevance and quality of future content, but will produce data that is applicable to a pipeline model, showing how content can be improved during the journey of marketing activity rather than continually churning out content without a guide as to whether readers like it.

• Avg. time on page – If readers are spending longer on a particular page, it suggests they are interested in what is on that page. Sales teams can action this knowledge by focusing on the subjects of interest when communicating with these readers. Personalising communication with prospective customers saves time, money, and is going to be more effective in expanding their interest in the brand and its products.

• Individual reader tracking – Having access to an individual’s journey within your content is essential for segmentation. Grouping existing and prospective clients based on their interests within a brand’s products and content can help streamline future communication and targeting practices. Therefore, budgets can be spent more effectively and in line with wider business goals.

With 68% of financial marketers rating measuring content effectiveness as one of their greatest challenges, 2020 will see increasing demand for post-campaign metrics. It is the responsibility of marketing teams to give FDs what they need. Embracing more sophisticated insights will not only close the gap in the language of financial and marketing teams, but will also shed light on how marketing is contributing to the financial gains of businesses.