Charlotte Rogers has a fascinating practitioner article on the Marketing/Finance interface published in Marketing Week. It is a positive piece that outlines how marketing and finance groups are beginning to collaborate more. Much of the advice is sensible. For example, UKTV brought a finance person into the media review team. The finance person was able to supply some great ideas and had an equal voice.
A secondary benefit of bringing finance people into marketing decisions is that the finance group feel ownership of any decision that is made. They want to make it work. They also get to understand some of the challenges in marketing, especially the challenge in assessing whether a project has been successful. If you work on the assumption that finance people actually want the business to be successful and if you share the reasons for your plans, assuming your plans make sense, the finance people are more likely to be receptive.
The advice if you want to bring groups together seems sensible, create physical closeness which they did at Energizer. “… finance physically sits alongside sales and marketing, putting the team in a central position to support the other business functions” (Rogers, 2017). (I was reminded a little of Gordon Allport’s Contact Hypotheses, the suggestion that bringing groups together is the best way to reduce inter-group tension.)
The ultimate achievement perhaps is to convince finance people that marketers aren’t just frittering away money. “The fact that the Monster finance team sees marketing as an investment rather than a costs is one of the company’s biggest achievements” (Rogers, 2017).
The tone is optimistic: “By casting outside the outdated assumptions that marketing and finance are diametrically opposed, brands are finding better ways to create a collaborative business culture that simultaneously fosters creativity and delivers concrete results” (Rogers, 2017). It is optimistic but I also think it is right.
Read: Charlotte Rogers (2017) How marketing is working with finance to shake off the “us versus them” attitude, Marketing Week, 17 October 2017.