Survey finds that CEOs value business-to-business marketing more than CFOs

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Convince your CFO of the important role business-to-business marketing plays to the bottom line

North Kingston, RI – October 28, 2003 – Mac McIntosh, a business-to-business marketing consultant and publisher of Sales Lead Report, today released the results of a survey of senior B2B marketing and sales professionals that show that CEOs are perceived as valuing marketing more than CFOs at the same company.

The survey was completed by 185 subscribers to the e-version of Sales Lead Report. The survey asked separate questions regarding CEO’s and CFO’s perceptions of the value of business-to-business marketing.

Nearly 93% of the respondents reported that their CEO thinks marketing is very important (60%) or somewhat important (32.4%) to the success of the company. Only 7.5% said that their CEO thinks marketing is not very important to the success of the company, and a miniscule 0.5% said that they didn’t have a clue as to what their CEO thinks about the importance of business-to-business marketing to their company’s success.

Nearly 78% said that their CFO thinks marketing is very important (38.4%) or somewhat important (39.5%) to the success of their company. Thirteen percent thought that their CFO thinks marketing is not very important (10.8%) or not at all important (2.2%) to the company’s success. Also a surprising 9.2% said that they didn’t have a clue as to what their CFO thinks about the importance of marketing to their company’s success.

These statistics were further amplified in one-on-one conversations with survey participants who volunteered to discuss the findings further by telephone.

Most professionals who talked to the Sales Lead Report researcher said that their CEO had some type of background in business-to-business marketing, which helped to make the CEO a “believer.”

“The marketers with CEOs who have marketing backgrounds are lucky,” says Mac McIntosh, the author of the survey. “However, many companies are led by CEOs who came out of finance and think more like accountants than marketers.”

One interviewee qualified his response with the fact that the CEO considers “performance” as the most important element in contributing to the company’s success. He also said that “pleasing the customer” ensures that they will have repeat business.

Another interviewee felt that his company’s CFO is not as enthusiastic about business-to-business marketing efforts as the CEO, and that he must work harder to help his CFO understand that getting business-to-business marketing done out of the country may be cheaper, but it will cost more in the long run. This respondent felt that an increase in the number of inquiries is the most important metric in justifying the business-to-business marketing budget.

Another interviewee echoed a similar response. Her CFO says that she sees the importance of business-to-business marketing but “doesn’t understand why it has to be so expensive.” This marketer felt that her organization is “immature” with regard to metrics. They look at trends. If there was a sales spike after a road show or a conference, then the business-to-business marketing efforts were judged as successful.

One business-to-business marketer felt that he needed to proactively woo the CEO to increase the business-to-business marketing budget. He used sales projections in relation to marketing expenditures to sell the program. But because the company’s business-to-business marketing objective is short-term leads, and because it only needs a small number of very large deals to meet its projection, the employees review each campaign and make decisions about increasing or decreasing marketing expenditures based on the immediate results.

“If marketers want bigger budgets,” says McIntosh, “they will have to convince their CFOs of the important role marketing plays in contributing to the company’s revenue and profit goals.”

Sales Lead Report, a newsletter for professionals in both sales and marketing, includes strategies, tactics, tips and techniques related to business-to-business demand generation and business development. More than 3,900 of its 12,000 subscribers receive the e-version (one issue of which included the survey), which is sent to subscribers approximately eight times a year. The rest of the subscribers receive the printed edition quarterly.

Mac McIntosh Inc., the Business-to-Business Sales Lead ExpertsTM, is a sales and marketing consulting company located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. For more information, please visit

M. H. "Mac” McIntosh

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M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and marketing speakers. He is president of Mac McIntosh Incorporated, a marketing consulting firm specializing in helping companies get more high-quality sales leads and turn them into sales. More about Mac...