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A marketer, a marketer, my board room for a marketer! (apologies to the Bard)

Professor Steve Carter, Professor of Marketing

Faculty Blog

The Board of Admiralty: This engraving was pub...

The Board of Admiralty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In answer to the question why so few marketers make it to the board room, Amanda Mackenzie, Aviva’s Chief marketing and communications officer, had this to say:

‘I think it’s because people still see marketing as an enabler rather than a strategic function. There is still a perception that marketers tend to talk as right-brained people in a left-brained world and are unlikely to talk about numbers in a way that the rest of the board are used to hearing……it shouldn’t make a difference as long as the correct output is delivered…..It also depends on the philosophy of the company, for example, Diageo and Unilever know the power of marketing is fundamental for them so all board members are marketers to some extent. To make it to board level you need to be really clear about what marketing can do, become an expert on customers and customer insight and, most importantly, how this knowledge can drive growth.’

(Source: The Marketer, January/February 2013)

Modules 1 and 2 of the Marketing course in a nutshell! But how many marketers do you have on your company board? Are you doing well in spite of this or could you do better if you had marketers in the board room? More fundamentally, have you the right type of marketer, or just, as Amanda implies, a ‘trappings’ versus ‘substance’ marketer?