Major issues that keep Chief Executive Officers awake are declining revenue, increasing operational cost and consequently, no profit. In this circumstance and spite of any economic and environmental challenges, the troubled CEO turns round to hold the Chief Marketing Officer responsible for not selling enough of the products or services to augment revenue.
The perplexed CMO, in turn, is at cross roads as his/her budget and other resources for marketing activities which are expected to engage consumers and increase sales are often slashed by Chief Financial Officer and approved by CEO.
To CEO and CFO, their intention of slashing the CMO budget is to reduce operational cost, save money and make profit. Good intention, though the misunderstanding here is that the CEO and CFO are not immediately conscious of the translation of investment in marketing to revenue or the CMO has not shown such proof enough. Most companies often visit the CMO budget for cut when things are not going well. Presently, the CMO budget is perhaps going up because he has to contend with various social vagaries which were non-existent before now.
According to Chris Ogbechie, Senior Faculty Officer, Lagos Business School at a recent lecture, the CMO is today contending with turbulent environment occasioned by changing consumer needs, social values, and competition from both global and local markets and dropping consumer disposable income.
Companies especially those in the same sector are also competing on profits. Under this scenario, the CMO is under pressure and therefore he/she is asking for more financial resources to conquer and meet expectations. Above all, he/ she also needs innovative strategies. But the challenge at this time is that the CEO and CFO are not sure that the allocation of more resources for activities will translate to increase in sales, revenue and profitability. Perhaps there is no market research evidence.
In a different forum, Doyin Salami, CEO of Kainos Edge Consulting corroborated Ogbechie’s view. The economist who spoke to marketers at a forum on ‘Business growth in a volatile Economy: Facts versus Myths organised by Advertising Association of Nigeria, ADVAN recently in Lagos said presently, Nigeria is a peculiar market with huge disparity of income, declining share of consumption, poor performing sectors and poor infrastructure which have forced the consumer to behave in a particular way.
The argument therefore between the three key officers is usually informed when they see themselves as playing dissimilar roles when in fact they are playing similar role – marketing with different languages – for the company. Their major targets are sales, more revenue and profitability and company growth.
It is believed therefore that with the continuous erroneous understanding of contradictory roles among the three management officers, the company will continue to suffer sales decline and revenue which will eventually lead to mass retrenchment with its attendant social implications.
To checkmate this trend and enthrone a cohesive relationship among the key officers, Advertising Association of Nigeria, ADVAN was spurred to hold the tripartite forum involving CEOs, CFOs and CMOs, geared towards understanding each other towards contributing to the growth of companies.
Folake Ani-Mumuney, President of ADVAN explained that the forum was organized to enrich marketers’ understanding on how businesses can drive for profitable growth in volatile economy.
She specifically told BusinessDay that the idea was to create deep understanding among companies’ management officers for business growth.
“We want to learn more in order to contribute to the growth of our organisations. Two things emerged from the forum; one is to share a common language with the leadership of organisations as co-executives on broad areas of leadership areas.
“We (marketers) cannot be pulling in one direction when the leadership is pulling in another direction. We also want to close any gaps that exist by ensuring that we fully market our positions. We also need the organisation to learn our own language”, she said.
Closing any existing gaps among the management is key and significant in organisational growth as the three key officers need to understand a bit of each other’s functions. This is better than creating unnecessary adversarial roles as if one function is better than the other in company’s growth. The three key officers are pounding in one mortar, and therefore need to understand each other’s strength, strategies and focus in pounding well.