Why Marketing Needs to be on the Board

Marketing on the board

Marketing is not represented on enough boards of directors in business. In 2019 in a review of Fortune 1000 company directors marketing was only represented on 26 boards – that’s just 2.6%!

As a profession it is often undervalued in the business world irrespective of whether it is a corporate or an SME.

Why does that matter?

First and foremost, marketing represents the voice of the customer. Yes, there are other directors who say they know what the customer wants, but it is likely to be skewed.

Sales are keen to meet their numbers, so they want to sell. Good sales teams know that means building good customer relationships, but it doesn’t mean they always understand the customer.

That is the job of marketing. Or, at least, it should be, but we will come back to that another day.

Let’s look at some other reasons why marketing needs to be on the board:

  1. Protect brand reputation – marketing is responsible for building and maintaining the company’s brand. The voice of reason to challenge “left field” thinking will help the senior leadership stay on track. They can flag concerns, raise alarm bells not only about internal activities, but also across the sector and the impact this may have on the business.
  2. Ensuring the marketing strategy and goals marry up with both the business goals and the sales targets. To help the business achieve its vision the marketing strategy and plan need to dovetail with the business plan. And to ensure the board recognise the support sales needs from marketing, and that the budget is there to provide the right tools.
  3. Educate on competitor activity – whilst I am not a huge believer in obsessing over the competition, it is wise to keep an eye on your rivals, and the wider market sector/trends. That’s part of marketing’s remit. Keeping the board up to speed on what is going on in the macro environment. Ensuring the business remains competitive, or indeed is ahead of the competition or potential disruptors/new entrants to the market.
  4. Support innovation – products/services and the way those are bundled to the customer. Through both wider analysis and customer insight, marketing can bring fresh ideas and challenge the status quo. This is not suggesting that marketing is suddenly going to take over product development – that’s not their job – but they should be involved to ensure there is a market. There’s no point in spending money on developing products nobody wants.
  5. Stakeholder relationships – that’s anything from the media to distributors and key suppliers. Marketing may not hold responsibility for channel management, but you certainly need support from marketing to help the channel do a great job. Their role is to support the business being seen in the best possible light and facilitating the best outcomes for the business.

I could go on, but I know you get the point.

Get marketing on the agenda for board meetings. Ask for reports on customer feedback, NPS scores, the marketing landscape. What is your business doing well? What could be better? Let marketing talk about that stuff. Let them lead on it.

This is not about marketing owning every part of the business, but it is about them making a valuable contribution that should have real business impact.

Maybe it’s time you re-evaluated your board structure?

Not sure if your marketing or sales is fit for purpose? No problem – let’s have a chat. Call us on 01256 83 11 10.

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