Most board directors understand the importance of marketing for a company’s growth. However, marketing is often reduced to a single metric – pipeline – in board meetings.
While generating leads is a key function of marketing, it has the potential to contribute much more to a company’s performance. Marketing also shapes market positioning, elevates brand reputation, and creates leverage and consistency across various functions as a company grows.
Why is marketing undervalued?
The main reason is that marketing is often a mystery to board members. Research shows that very few Fortune 1000 boards have active marketing leaders. Additionally, many board members come from backgrounds without marketing experience, further contributing to the undervaluing of marketing.
Another reason is the increasing need for businesses to be data-driven. It is easier to measure the impact of events and digital demand-gen activities compared to brand campaigns and other aspects of marketing that are essential but challenging to measure in terms of ROI.
As a result, business leaders often focus on measuring marketing’s contribution to the near-term pipeline, neglecting other important aspects of marketing.
Reshaping the board update
A board’s role in a growth company is not just governance but also guiding future performance. When presenting marketing updates to the board, it is important to cover five key areas:
- Priorities: Share the areas of the business that marketing is driving or supporting.
- Performance: Provide updates on how marketing is performing against its priorities.
- Pipeline: Discuss the health of the pipeline.
- Positioning: Evaluate if the company and its offerings are positioned for future growth.
- Plans: Share the plans for the next quarter or year.
Clarify the priorities
Start by discussing the areas of the business that marketing is focused on, whether quarterly objectives, annual OKRs, or strategic initiatives. For each priority, explain how marketing is contributing and why it is important.
Show your performance
Create a scorecard that tracks marketing’s progress against its priorities. Use data and milestones to provide a clear picture of performance. Don’t shy away from acknowledging areas of improvement and asking for the board’s support.