How advances in behavioral science and financial analytics offer an effective way to bridge this gap between marketing and finance.

Our fourth article from the (JACF Spring/Summer issue) discusses how finance executives are often frustrated by spending proposals from their marketing colleagues but cannot seem to be able to quantify the putative benefits. Similarly, the marketing staff is frustrated by the finance team’s inability to convert soft marketing metrics, such as “awareness” and “customer satisfaction” into financial forecasts. The challenge is that neither marketers nor finance executives have been able to articulate a single analytical framework which both explains how and why brands come to flourish or flounder and how brand growth contributes to the business’s short and long term bottom line.

Lacking an effective way to do this now, most managers default to using the hard data they do have, namely how marketing investment is likely to impact sales this quarter and next. This reinforces the widespread focus on quarterly EPS and reduces the perceived value of the marketing department to their ability to hit three month sales targets. This degraded view of marketing’s contribution and the inability to link “soft” marketing metrics to longer term financial returns impedes building long-term brand value. This article focuses on how advances in behavioral science and financial analytics offer an effective way to bridge this gap between marketing and finance.

Building that bridge requires better measures of brand health and financial performance to allocate capital and marketing resources. Undoubtedly, brand building is both an art and a science. But, the finance people can develop an evidence-based framework explaining how some of the “softer” investments such as brand building, contribute to the value of the firm.

Authored by Ryan Barker, BERA Brand Management, and Greg Milano, Fortuna Advisors

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