Making Marketing Accountable

Marketing has lacked accountability that is common to the rest of the organisation.  The finance department can show their graphs, the human resources department can describe their figures but the marketing department Is often left to present a glossy brochure without any description of whether it has worked or not.  Marketing staff could suggest they are increasing unit profitability but there needs to be accountability for how effectively the money was being spent; the brochure design may have looked good, but has it really worked.   You can not manage something that is not measured. 

This is a central problem in businesses today.  Marketing has the privileged and unique role of identifying market trends and opportunities with the aim to connect the organisation to the customers, marketing, therefore acts to drive growth.  Marketing is expected to grow a customer base or increase sales but companies are rarely measuring this and assuming it has worked and then repeating the same activities year after year because marketing is something they are ‘meant’ to do.   Philip Kotler (1997) explains how marketing can work most efficiently if it is outsourced to professionals and that marketing plays a paramount role in the running of a business.

One of the causes for the lack of accountability could be due to the assumption that marketing has no common units of measurement.   To date, there is no generally accepted definition of return on marketing investment even within the same firm or among firms known for their marketing prowess. (Nail 2004).  As a result the marketing department is increasingly being asked to justify its expenditures and are placed under pressure to achieve ‘guestimated’ results.

We are in an era of accountability- with shareholder scepticism rippling through the corporate domain.   Traditionally marketing is one of the least measured functions in an organisation, whilst the implications of its actions are critical to business growth and with a significant amount of money being spent on marketing activities.  It is surely detrimental to any business growth to not measure marketing activities. 

It needs to be recognised that marketing should validate and present clear and definable measurements for each campaign.  These results, rather than allocated budgets, should guide marketing investment.  By working with an outsourced marketing department, where they carry out all marketing activities for the company, marketing can be made accountable.  Firstly, the outsourced marketing department ensure that all objectives for the campaign are measurable and continually measure the effectiveness of each marketing task, reporting back to the client.  An outsourced marketing department ensure that rigorous measurement is carried out so that they can continually provide high performance marketing for their clients. 

Accountability is more than just showing numbers and attempting to predict ROI figures.  The range of measurement options are vast, advertising can increase awareness, recognition or recall, should the amount of revenue generated be measured or website traffic?  The ultimate measurement for the success of the campaign is whether it fulfilled the marketing objectives?  Primary, Secondary, Quantitative and Qualitative research should be undertaken during and after the campaign to find this out.  Marketing is about improving performance and fulfilling objectives. To make the practice of marketing more accountable, marketers at Outsourced Marketing Department, Skala Marketing, start with strategy first and use measurement systems during and after the campaign to ensure that the marketing objectives have been fulfilled.  This process involves pinpointing, diagnosing and implementing any tactical improvements that the measurement reveals.  Meanwhile the client has an increased need to know that their money spent with their marketing supplier is producing effective results, as would be the case with any supplier.

Skala are an International team of marketing consultants that provide practical solutions to grow your business through consultancy, outsourcing and a full range of marketing services.  For more information about how Skala can become your ladder to success, please visit