MTI Strategic Reflections

The great marketing and finance debate

In the context of today’s competitive business environment and the business models that are emerging, both these functions (and the very terms marketing and finance) are insular, myopic and irrelevant.
 
Let’s take what’s arguably the most important function of Marketing- increasing sales. However, the problem the business environment faces is that the marketing function is increasingly getting disconnected from their sales function. At the inception of an organisation, the marketing function is generally absent while sales function is prevalent. As organizations grow, they throw in a marketing function as a sales support function. Nonetheless, after a while the latter tends to lose focus of their core purpose and become increasingly unconnected to generating revenue.
 
Despite the claims of many marketers on ‘driving the organizations corporate strategy’, their actual corporate contribution consists of ineffective trade shows, brochures not many care to read and advertisements not many care to watch.
 
Similarly, the role of finance has changed over the years. The expectations from this function have changed significantly. Not only has the recent shift in external pressure increased but they now demand the more leaner a proactive back office function to respond to these external pressures. CFOs must embrace this challenge for the streamlined transition of the organizational structure.
 
Instead, what businesses need is value-chain based cross-functional / multi-disciplinary approaches e.g. supply chain, go-to-market, demand generation, customer retention, performance management, cost-optimization, governance, compliance etc.  Contrast this with conventional marketers and finance professionals trying to defend their ‘conventional turfs’, while a new ‘ball game’ is being played out! I suppose many such marketing and finance professionals would bristle at this, but there are many who would support these propositions. This is certainly not going to be an easy endeavor but the transition is imperative.