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Strategic Marketers Should Sit at the Board Table

Every bottom line begins at the prime. Traditionally, boards have brought specific power to safeguarding the firm and enhancing bottom-line performance. Now, it is time for boards to concentrate on topline revenue.

Progress is imperative, with shareholders demanding that boards problem management to develop sustainable business-building strategies. Business progress is built on a robust income stream, which will depend on one main issue—the customer. An organization will fail to generate constant and vibrant progress with no tight grasp on who the buyer is, what the buyer needs, and the way the buyer is altering.

And at present’s customer is altering at a speedy velocity.

The client is the domain of the strategic marketer. Yet, lower than three per cent of the largest company boards have advertising illustration.[i] Including a customer skilled to the board will convey the buyer to the fore of board discussions and augment board competency, with proven expertise in creating and evaluating progress strategies.

Filling the strategic advertising vacuum at the board degree is increasingly urgent, given the convergence of three elements: the seismic change in buyer attitudes and behaviours, the innovation imperative, and the relentless significance of building a company’s brand.

To build a greater board—one that is simpler and customer-centric—I suggest three principal methods:

  • Convey new emphasis to the creation and maintenance of vibrant income streams.
  • Increase board expertise with strategic advertising expertise.
  • Cultivate an understanding of latest quantum clients and their influence on producing revenue.

“The new customer construct is a double-edged sword. It has the ability to propel or destroy shareholder value at a lightning pace. But with the right marketing strategies, customers can be acquired quickly, less expensively, and from a much wider catchment area.”

Bringing New Emphasis to the Creation and Maintenance of Vibrant Income Streams

Traditionally, boards have targeted on short-term results pushed by cost-containment actions or mergers and acquisitions (or both). Current research, nevertheless, have confirmed that natural progress is the most necessary controllable driver of complete shareholder value. A BCG report released last yr concluded that “most value creation comes from top-line growth, which accounts for 74 per cent of total shareholder return of S&P 500 top-quartile-performing companies over a ten-year period.”

Many corporations and boards face formidable organic progress expectations and are putting huge bets on breakthrough innovation and digital tasks as transformative options to succeed in these objectives. To navigate these perilous waters efficiently, boards must weigh the danger of latest merchandise and enterprise models towards the danger of the established order. The stakes are excessive. A McKinsey survey found that only 6 per cent of executives are glad with their innovation performance. Nevertheless, disruption can threaten an organization’s capacity to persevere. Only 33 per cent of corporations dealing with business disruption manage to outlive and thrive, based on a 2017 BCG report.  The board requires deep perception into clients’ values and behaviours to appropriately consider strategic choices.

In lots of instances, the true expected value of a specific innovation challenge is unattainable for administrators to evaluate. Financial, authorized, human assets, and danger professionals shouldn’t have area experience in growing revenue, understanding clients, or sustaining model equity. Strategic marketers, nevertheless, are uniquely educated to know the buyer and to transform these insights into progress. Chief advertising officers, the most senior positions, are members of the C-suite answerable for innovating services to satisfy buyer necessities and fostering customer engagement all through the customer’s journey. They are deeply steeped in buyer analytics and the design of digital solutions for patrons. Briefly, they are champions of the buyer and designers of enterprise progress.

Adding Advertising Competencies to the Board

Given the pivotal position that advertising plays in driving financial performance, it is shocking how few boards have strategic advertising experience at the table. Lower than 3 per cent of board seats among S&P Composite 1500 Index corporations are held by members with a advertising background.[ii] That is beginning to vary, as boards search specialists who may also help assess and help progress era. In line with a Spencer Stuart survey, that 21 per cent of corporations now determine “marketing expertise” on their wish record.

Proof is mounting that bringing marketers onto a board can yield real returns. A Advertising Science Institute research analyzed the effect of board-level advertising experience on agency performance by reviewing 64,086 board member biographies from S&P 1500 companies. The research found that boards with one marketing-experienced director saw a three per cent improve in complete shareholder return over boards with none. The influence was even larger for corporations in distress. When agency market share was declining by 1.5 proportion factors, the addition of a marketing-experienced director generated a mean improve of 6 per cent in complete shareholder return. It isn’t shocking that many corporations producing the highest progress rates—similar to Amazon, Fb, and Twitter—all have entrepreneurs on their boards.

A seasoned marketer will augment board power with the following competencies, that are important to rising revenues:

  • Shopper behaviour insights, to frame technique and innovation selections
  • Familiarity with buyer knowledge analytics, to clarify technique assumptions
  • Information of customer expertise administration, to help resource allocation
  • Capability to problem management, to develop extra aggressive or revolutionary progress methods
  • Branding experience, to mitigate danger related to the company’s most significant asset

The Rise of the Quantum Buyer

Boards should understand right now’s clients. They are empowered and dramatically reframing their relationship with corporations. The new buyer assemble is a double-edged sword. It has the potential to propel or destroy shareholder value at a lightning pace. But with the right advertising methods, clients might be acquired shortly, less expensively, and from a much wider catchment area. The improper methods, nevertheless, may cause clients to stay away or defect, leading to income loss and reputational danger. A current PwC research discovered that 32 per cent of consumers will walk away from a brand they love after only one dangerous expertise.

I discuss with this new breed of consumers as quantum clients because they’ve a capacity for sudden and vital movement. Quantum clients emerged in the previous 10 years after the introduction of digital know-how reminiscent of the iPhone. The exploding digital world has super-charged circumstances to create 5 distinctive traits that characterize in the present day’s clients: exacting, fluid, future-oriented, fiery, and socially-minded.

Exacting clients demand personalised experiences crafted to satisfy their individual preferences. Although worth and quality stay the prime buy determination standards, virtually three-quarters of those clients see a superb expertise as a key influencer.[iii] Many business specialists consider that personalised customer expertise is now the only really persistent point of competitive benefit, given the velocity with which rivals can mimic product developments. The PwC research noted above also discovered that clients can pay a premium of up to 16 per cent for a high-quality customer experience. Unfortunately, less than one-third of at this time’s corporations may be thought-about really “experience-led” businesses, which is loosely defined as companies that spend money on buyer expertise across individuals, processes, and know-how.[iv] The businesses that do provide superior buyer experience considerably outperform people who don’t, as measured by way of a variety of metrics:

  • Accelerated progress rates: 1.4 occasions
  • Elevated buyer lifetime value: 1.6 occasions
  • Stronger retention charges: 1.7 occasions
  • Larger common order fee: 1.9 occasions
  • Greater worker satisfaction: 1.5 occasions

Fluid clients change throughout manufacturers and adopt new technologies at the touch of a display. For instance, 40 per cent of at this time’s shoppers have a high willingness and skill to shift spend, with a further 25 per cent building that mindset.[v] This fluidity is due to a mixture of factors:

  • Wider and more international selection of brands
  • Ease of switching
  • Rich info assets (more than 90% of smartphone users say they use their smartphone in stores whereas purchasing to match costs, lookup product info, and verify on-line critiques)[vi]
  • Rising customer expectations throughout classes (if Amazon can deliver merchandise inside days, or even hours, why can’t every firm achieve this?)
  • Intolerance of poor customer expertise

These elements create the circumstances for fluidity, but they don’t seem to be the cause. If a customer switches to a competitor, it’s because they don’t seem to be receiving unique or adequate worth to remain loyal.

Future-oriented clients have voracious appetites for brand spanking new and revolutionary options. A Nielsen research indicated that 63 per cent of surveyed clients want, and anticipate, their most popular brands to innovate for the future. Similarly, many chief government officers anticipate a substantial amount of their firm’s future progress to return from new clients, new markets, and new merchandise. Corporations and types that don’t innovate are at critical danger of sinking into irrelevance in the minds of consumers.

Fiery clients are extremely judgmental, and social media palms them a megaphone to share their opinions. After a nasty experience with an organization, 42 per cent of consumers will publish a damaging on-line evaluation or share the expertise on social media—a fee that’s climbing annually.[vii]

Apparently, current research have decided that postings about constructive experiences are also growing, with 38 per cent of shoppers now posting about constructive experiences.[viii] Constructive advocacy can result in great progress for a brand, whereas unfavourable publicity can precipitate speedy business loss. Fiery clients are keen to fee a company’s efficiency. They typically value other clients’ opinions greater than an organization’s promotional supplies. The truth is, nine out of 10 shoppers now read on-line evaluations before visiting a enterprise,[ix] and greater than half of adults beneath the age of 50 examine on-line critiques earlier than buying a new item.[x] A staggering 88 per cent of shoppers trust online critiques as much as private suggestions. And, most importantly, 86 per cent of individuals will hesitate to buy from a business that has destructive online evaluations.[xi]

Socially-minded quantum clients consider that brands ought to take a place on at the moment’s urgent societal points akin to job progress, gender equality, gun management, racial justice, immigration, climate change, and bullying. In accordance with a 2017 Havas Media survey, 75 per cent of consumers want manufacturers to contribute positively to society however consider only 40 per cent at present achieve this. There’s demonstrable strategic worth in creating a company social duty program. In another 2017 survey by Cone Communications, 87 per cent of respondents stated they might purchase a product because a company supported a problem they care about, whereas 76 per cent would refuse to purchase from an organization if they discovered it supported a problem contrary to their own beliefs.

The five traits of the quantum buyer—exacting, fluid, future-oriented, fiery, and socially-minded—type a profoundly modified platform upon which corporations’ progress methods have to be crafted. In the end, long-term business vitality shall be driven by the firm’s capability to attract and retain clients. These new customer tenets must underpin all future business-building methods as the cornerstones of sustained customer worth.

It’s time for strategic marketers to sit at the board table. As Peter Drucker so rightly observed, “The single purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” In these turbulent occasions, boards should cultivate a pointy and unwavering give attention to the buyer as the foundation for robust and sustained enterprise vitality.

[i] Stephanie Overby, “Corporate Boards Begin to Seek Marketers for Digital Savvy,”, June 22, 2017, accessed February 5, 2019,

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Giselle Abramovich, “Consumers Say They Will Pay More for a Better Experience,”, April 26, 2018, accessed February 5, 2019,

[iv] Forrester Research, Inc., The Enterprise Impression of Investing in Expertise (2018), accessed February 5, 2019, material/dam/acom/en/experience-cloud/analysis/roi/pdfs/business-impact-of-cx-infographic.pdf.

[v] Forrester Research, Inc., 2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Form the Future in The Age of the Customer (2016), accessed February 5, 2019,

[vi] Greg Sterling, “Survey: 90 Percent of Retail Shoppers Use Smartphones in Stores,” Advertising Land, June 20, 2015, accessed February 5, 2019,

[vii] Chris Bucholtz, “The $62 Billion Customer Service Scared Away [Infographic],” NewVoiceMedia, Might 24, 2016, accessed February 5, 2019,

[viii] Graham Ede, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” Fourth Supply, June 5, 2017, accessed February 5, 2019,

[ix] Khalid Saleh, “The Importance of Online Customer Reviews,” Invesp, accessed February 5, 2019,

[x] Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson, “Online Reviews,” Pew Research Middle, December 19, 2016, accessed February 5, 2019,

[xi] Khalid Saleh, op. cit.