Most would assume marketers would have a strong perception of marketing in a company however a Marketo report says that is not entirely the case.

The report, Marketing 2025: The future of skills and technology in marketing across Australia and New Zealand CEOs had more stronger responses to positive statements on marketing than their CMO counterparts when compared to the negative statements.

The CEOs questioned considered marketing as a driver of revenue growth and a partner to the sales department than CMOs.

From the survey, 81 per cent of CEOs said marketing is considered to be a driver of revenue growth with only 73 per cent of CMOs agreeing with this statement.

The results from the survey are positive, reflecting a change when marketing was considered to be the “colouring-in department” according to the report.

Despite this, some of that sentiment still lingers with 18 per cent of executives saying that was a common opinion among their peers.

A marketing leader in the services sector said the rise of the CMO and the role they now play in organisations, particularly in Australia, has been huge.

“It’s a shift and something that we just need to get used to and I think it varies depending on industry and size of organisation. It correlates directly to the findings around how marketers are perceived as the “colouring department”—if a CMO has a seat at the boardroom table, is closely aligned with sales and is tied to bottom line revenue then I truly believe this will change.”

The negative perception

When it comes to marketers, they have a more negative perception about themselves than others have of them.

The biggest perceived negative was a lack of understanding from their peers about the work they do with 33 per cent of CMO selecting this.

On each measure marketers rated positive statements about marketing more negatively than CEOs and negative statements about marketing more highly than CEOs.

For example, when asked the view “marketing is thought of as the colouring-in department” 8 per cent of CEOs held this view compared to 22 per cent of marketers.

When also given the statement “marketing is mostly considered to be an events business” 13 per cent of CMOs agreed compared to 6 per cent of CEOS, doubling the number.

One marketing leader from the networking sector said they were always asked what marketing does, “When I worked for a smallish software company in the past, of about a hundred people, everyone used to ask: what is it that marketing actually does?

“Part of the problem is that unless you work for marketing, customer service, or in product management, you don’t really engage much with customers, or with what goes on in the market. And, consequently, you are not exposed to marketing’s work.”

Marketers do still have a problem in some areas with the report showing the larger the organisation, the more likely marketing is to be poorly perceived.

In every case, marketing scores stronger on positive statements like “driver of revenue” and received fewer votes for negatives statements like “colouring-in department” from smaller companies.

Finally, finance, manufacturing, and retail all see marketing as a driver of growth in roughly equal measure.

About this author

Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Marketo is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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