In science, “synergy” refers to the way two or more elements combine for greater results than they could achieve on their own. And in business, the same can be true in the C-suite, where collaboration between leaders yields greater efficiency and better decision-making.
Here are some ways that collaboration between chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs) can create synergy to drive the business forward.
Alignment of Business Objectives
Too often, marketing and finance divisions operate in separate silos rather than working in sync. Or marketing may be brought in late in the budget cycle rather than having a key voice in the accomplishment of business objectives.
By working together, CFOs and CMOs can collaborate on business objectives. This means that marketers aren’t merely executing a plan based on a decision made by another member of the C-suite, but they have an active voice in shaping corporate strategy.
If nothing else, a collaboration between CFOs and CMOs can lead to an agreement on company priorities and can ensure that business leaders are working toward the same goals.
Alignment of KPIs
Historically, CFOs and CMOs have spoken different languages when it comes to accomplishing the company mission.
Naturally, CFOs are driven by hard, quantitative data such as revenue, cash flow, and other core metrics. But marketing professionals commonly rely on a broader set of information, including qualitative data such as market sentiment analysis or brand awareness.
Additionally, while financial experts look at historical data, marketers often rely on future data from focus groups and the results of upcoming marketing plans.
Bringing these two mindsets together is no easy task. But by creating stronger partnerships, CFOs and CMOs can bridge the gap between their departments and learn how these key metrics overlap and reinforce one another.
As a result, companies can develop a comprehensive growth strategy that accounts for both the hard data of the financial professionals as well as the metrics critical to marketing teams.
Once objectives and KPIs are aligned, CMOs and CFOs are better equipped to contribute to the company’s decision-making process.
By bringing CMOs and CFOs together early in the budget process, companies are able to make decisions that account for the metrics that matter to marketing teams.
For example, CMOs can help companies consider how an upcoming decision might impact the company brand. Or a CMO can introduce past marketing data — such as customer testimonials or feedback from focus groups — to guide future decisions.
Similarly, CFOs can provide CMOs with a clearer understanding of the ROI of current marketing strategies. CMOs can use this data to improve or reevaluate marketing plans or devise a strategy that centers on what yields the best results.
With better communication comes greater efficiency. And by understanding the metrics that matter to CMOs and CFOs, each department can allocate resources more efficiently to contribute to the company’s growth.
This means that CFOs can help CMOs recognize the impact of their marketing plans on the company’s bottom line. Likewise, CMOs can explain the potential benefits of rolling out a new marketing strategy.
Partnerships between CMOs and CFOs can also improve the efficiency of the C-suite as a whole. By aligning departments with a common goal, it will be far easier to hold discussions and communicate about future decisions.
This is especially important during the budgeting process. CMOs can influence the way money is allocated toward marketing plans and promotional events, ensuring a smoother planning process for the entire company.
Greater Flexibility and Resilience
In an uncertain world, businesses need greater agility to navigate rapidly shifting economic conditions. This happens to be where CMOs and other marketing teams can be particularly helpful.
Many businesses are experiencing the sting of inflation as consumers are moving away from “nice-to-have” purchases to focus on absolute necessities. Successful companies are learning to reposition themselves and demonstrate how their goods and services address customer needs. CMOs can help shape this message to continue connecting with their customer base.
Similarly, CMOs can rely on the best data from CFOs, showing the overall ROI on their marketing campaigns. This allows teams to adapt to new needs and refine their strategies accordingly.
Through these partnerships, the company is better poised to remain resilient even in the face of economic challenges and changing consumer expectations.
Understanding the Evolving C-Suite
Increasingly, the most powerful corporations are relying on more than just the CEO to make strategic decisions. Instead, management rests in the hands of a series of professionals, each of whom represents a larger team actively serving the company.
The more companies can foster strong partnerships between members of the C-suite, the better they’ll be able to make business decisions and adapt to changing economic conditions or industry trends. CMOs and CFOs can be leaders in this capacity, providing a model for strong collaboration across departments.