Proving the Financial Contribution of Marketing to the Business

A survey of CMOs by Forbes reveals that marketing is a key driver of enterprise value and should be managed as an asset, rather than a cost center. According to the analysis -Marketing Accountability: A CEO Blueprint for Driving Enterprise Value – marketing can contribute over 50% of firm value when brand, customer and digital assets are properly valued and the impact of marketing performance, collaboration, and perceptions of innovation on financial outcomes are measured.

Yet too few business leaders understand how to measure these dynamics, leaving their most valuable asset unmanaged and undermining efforts to grow firm value.

To grow in the current environment, CMOs must work as a team with executive leadership and business unit leaders to impact six value drivers:


This framework provides a vocabulary and set of economics that make it simpler for leadership teams to agree upon, quantify and measure the economic contribution of marketing to the enterprise.

According to Mercer’s North American CMO Peter Bingaman: “We need more context to understand how we share the responsibility for growth, and where we need to work together to achieve collective outcomes that improve enterprise value. We need to reframe the conversation, arrive at a common language and set of economics about the financial impact marketing has, and the interrelationship between sales, product, technology and compliance that is necessary to make growth happen.”

This economic model goes a long way to explaining how companies like AirBnB, Uber and Amazon are creating billions of dollars of new value relative to their peers in the hospitality, transportation and retail industry.

Each individual organization has a unique set of factors and growth drivers that will determine how it grows and where it can create the greatest financial impact with its growth investments. And no organization can be great at all things. To quickly focus the board and leadership team on the three to five strategies with the greatest potential to protect and grow company value, the CEO needs answers to six questions:

1. What is the contribution of the brand to current and future enterprise value?

2. Are we doing enough to leverage, protect and expand the value of our customer relationships?

3. How ready is your organization to support growth?

4. Are we getting more than $9 of top-line growth for every dollar we allocate to marketing investments and activities

5. How aggressively should we reallocate resources to digital channels to keep up with customers, competition and the cost of acquisition?

6. How important is innovation to growth in our industry and competitive set?

To help CEOs and their leadership teams answer these questions so they can generate more growth, profits and value from their rising investments in marketing assets, media and technology, the Forbes CMO Practice partnered with the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) to develops principles of marketing accountability. Their analysis is published in a report entitled Marketing Accountability: A CEOs Blueprint for Driving Enterprise Value which outlines in detail the twelve organizational capabilities high performing marketing organizations have developed that allow them to maximize growth, profits and value creation though greater marketing accountability.

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