“What could a group of CFOs possibly want to hear a marketing person speak about?” I asked myself several weeks ago as I prepared a presentation for a group of credit union officers. The CFOs would be attending the First Carolina Corporate Federal Credit Union Financial Conference in Charlotte, NC. I knew marketing trends and social media updates would be a fast track to glazed-over looks. After some time pondering ideas, I knew it would be easy.
I’m passionate about teamwork. We’ve developed great relationships with the CFOs at the credit unions we work with because we understand we need their buy-in to continue to do great work for their institutions. But how do you convince them that the CMO and CFO are not oil and water, but more like Desi and Lucy?
Bill Fuessler, an IBM Smarter Planet Contributor, nailed it when he said, “Chief Financial Officers aren’t just numbers guys. They must actively shape the strategic direction of a company. And Chief Marketing Officers are no longer relegated to branding or advertising issues. They must have a detailed, almost scientific understanding of the market and their customers.”
When I worked in radio, there was a constant battle between the on-air personalities and the sales people as to who was more important. “If it weren’t for me, those sales people would have nothing to sell,” the personalities would exclaim. “But without me, you wouldn’t have a paycheck,” the sales people quickly replied. Both were right. The same is true of marketing and financial functions, not only in credit unions, but in all organizations. It’s time for these two functions to partner together for the good of your credit union.
While it’s the responsibility of marketing to accurately measure the results for all of their work, there’s a much greater chance of success when the CFO understands and agrees to the metrics which are being used, where the data is coming from, and how the analytical reporting is performed. To make this partnership work, marketing will need to use more quantitative — versus qualitative — metrics to measure ROI. Likewise, the CFO needs to gain a better understanding of how to maximize every dollar allocated to marketing through better analytics on growth initiatives.
Like cats and dogs working together, it’s an unlikely and untraditional partnership, but the benefits can be very tangible: growth. What credit union couldn’t use some of that?