- Understanding finance basics and concepts helps CMOs more effectively partner with CFOs and their teams
- Investing in a shared analytical or numerical language can help with communications and ultimately improve the perception of marketing
- Training on financial concepts and skills can improve the team’s effectiveness
Having been a CMO after getting a Masters in finance degree, numbers and analytics were always second nature to me along with the creative side that keeps marketing really interesting. Understanding finance has helped me partner with CFOs, boards, and executive and finance teams because I could speak their language and surprise them with the unexpected. For example, have you ever suggested marketing cost reductions without first being asked?
I’ve often written about “Enhancing the CMO/CFO Relationship.” That paper included some key points to improve alignment and corporate success:
- Improve the perception of marketing. CMOs should educate the CFO and finance about how marketing has changed over the years from primarily a creative and sales support function to a unit that drives key corporate goals such as revenue, cost efficiencies, profitability, customer experience, the brand, and ultimately valuations.
- Common language. Learn to speak the language of the CFO using financial concepts applied to marketing programs.
- Marketing dashboard. Partner with the CFO and his or her team to create a dashboard that frames marketing impacts and challenges related to cross-functional goals appreciated by the C-suite.
- Collaboration. Develop a cadence for ongoing dialog and partnering on key business strategies and tactics in addition to the formal planning and budgeting processes.
- CMO as a general manager. To be a successful cross-functional team player, today’s CMO needs to be an effective general manager, balancing growth strategies, data analytics, process and P&L management
Would some financial concept skills and training help you and your team’s effectiveness?