Retail Marketing Leaders Are Talking Revenue Growth. Who Do They Need to Get Buy-In From For Their Initiatives?

August 7, 2018

Retail marketing leaders at companies with at least $100 million in annual e-commerce sales are focused on showing results, according to a survey from Nanigans. Indeed, their top 3 priorities are all growth-focused: improving ROI/boosting sales; customer acquisition and retention; and expanding/increasing market share. But with a majority (58%) seeing their roles becoming more fragmented among different executives, almost all (93%) need buy-in for their growth initiatives.

Most often, respondents to the survey reported having to sometimes or often get buy-in from:

  • Sales/Business Development (62%);
  • Product/Merchandising (52%);
  • Analytics/Optimization (43%);
  • Design/Creative (39%); and
  • Finance (36%).

The need for buy-in from various functions may relate to the control that is (or isn’t) exerted by marketers over various areas of the organization.

The majority – and in some cases the vast majority – of retail marketing leaders exert at least some control over each of the areas identified, ranging from promotion channels to product launches, pricing and store openings.

But fewer have total control over these areas. While a majority say they have total control over promotion channels, fewer than half have that level of control over ideal customer profiles, website design, product launches, and sales and revenue goal setting.

Perhaps as a result, only 39% of marketing leaders surveyed believe they have the control required to effect change. Some are also dissatisfied for other reasons, as each of the following issues were cited by 1 in 3 respondents:

  • Not having the resources needed to hit their goals;
  • Feeling their team’s function is misunderstood and improperly valued; and
  • Feeling that their team’s success metrics are poorly defined and misunderstood by other teams.

There are some bright spots, though. More than three-quarters (78%) believe that their CEO is impressed with marketing’s leadership. It certainly helps to report directly to the CEO: 91% of those doing so feel that their CEO is impressed with them, compared to 52% of those who don’t report to the CEO.

And in another encouraging sign, a report released earlier this year by BDO USA found that the CEOs, CFOs and CIOs surveyed were more likely to increase investments in advertising and marketing (65%) than in any other area, including IT systems and technology and the supply chain.

Meanwhile, in other results from the Nanigans report:

  • Respondents estimate that their retailers have had an average of 2.6 CMOs over the past 7 years;
  • Some 42% plan to interview for jobs at other companies within 6 months;
  • The factor considered most important for driving growth is keeping up with changing consumer behavior, followed by improving measurement of marketing programs.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions in May and June 2018 of 100 marketing leaders at large retailers. Respondents were either CMO/Head of Marketing (50%) or VP/Director (50%). On average they have worked at their current companies, which all generate at least $100 million in annual e-commerce sales, for 5 years.

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