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How Can Finance Work Better with Marketing... And Vice-Versa?

Stuart McFaul's Profile

I have been asked to make a presentation on how marketing can work better with CFOs/finance; it is often said the two departments are as different as night and day. Any insight or response you can provide me for any/all of the following questions would be deeply appreciated!

1. Do you feel there IS a disconnect between Marketing/Finance? If so, why?
2. What challenges do you face when working with CMO’s/Marketing organizations? What do you feel Marketing “doesn’t get” about Finance and what you need?
3. Do you have specific needs in Finance that you find Marketing has a hard time meeting?
4. Have you ever resolved them? If so, how?
5. Do you have any recommendations on how Finance/Marketing can work better together? Any real-life examples of things that have worked?
6. What kind of metrics or analytics have you seen in marketing programs that satisfied your desire to measure marketing’s effectiveness?
7. What are the areas of common interest where Finance and Marketing can build a better relationship?


Deanna Miller
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Professional Plumbing Group
(Chief Financial Officer, Professional Plumbing Group) |

Hi Stuart,

I have actually found marketing more similar to finance than sales. Like finance, they spend a lot of time estimating what will happen in the future based on looking at the data at hand. While we tend to look at historical data from the financial systems, they add to that market inputs and other softer data.

One key to keep marketing and finance aligned is to make sure you are using the same historical data. For a while, marketing and I were presenting different numbers for new product revenue. I did not have a complete list of new products and they were not netting out returns. Once we began using the same historical data set both departments worked better together.

A couple metrics we track on marketing effectiveness are (1) new product sales versus prior year and two plans - the financial plan (budget) and the product launch plan and (2) incremental sales from promotional activities - change in volume, revenue and margin from the promoted skus versus pre promotion history.

Good luck.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

On Deanna's track, I've found that Sales/Marketing (or if you like Marketing/Sales) hates to be tied down to a number or for that matter give a number.

Obviously this is an untenable position for the CFO. Many times (believe it or not), they just don't know how to budget. Sometimes it is very difficult to gauge the market, your slice of the market and how to increase that slice; but that's no excuse because that is part of the Marketing Department's job.

Why not find out and give them a lesson on the various budgeting schema's and possibly additional marketing budgeting schema's (such as KPI's and demographics of marketing spend,etc).

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