The Accountability of Accountable Marketing

Michiel van de Watering has a book on accountable marketing. In this he analyses some of the pitfalls of current marketing planning and some potential for improvement.

It gets right into the action with the foreword (by Guy Powell) asking the extremely pertinent question: “Can you imagine the CEO asking the Chief Financial Officer how much money is in the bank and not getting an accurate answer?” (Van de Watering, 2018, page 9). The point is well made; marketers really need a better idea what they are achieving if they want CEOs to listen to them.

He outlines some ideas on how marketing budgets are often set. What he reveals isn’t pretty – much of the budget process doesn’t really make sense. Budgets being handed down from on high, or just using last years’ numbers plus inflation. It seems unlikely that last years’ budget was the right amount and even less that adding inflation to last year’s figure will get the optimal figure for this year.

He mentioned that managerial hobbies can be a major problem for accountability. “Quite often campaigns or media investments are chosen because the Management so chooses based upon their fancy, but not based on the analysis of its expected impact on success” (Van de Watering, 2018, page 20) . Where choices are made just because the manager fancies doing the campaign it is unlikely to prove to be a great idea.

One of the most interesting ideas covered is that accountable marketing must be accountable. Those advocating for accountable marketing must be willing to demonstrate that it helps to adopt such an approach. “Accountability itself costs money:. We certainly do not deny that it takes money and effort; however it is often possible to make a positive business case.”(Van de Watering, 2018, page 126). It is important that those seeking to implement accountability take their own accountability seriously. Van de Watering is right to say that we should be able to show that accountability works.

Read: Michiel van de Watering(2018) Yes! Accountable Marketing: Accountability for Results Driven Marketing, CeFloRo Management, Holland