Changes in the C-Suite: The CFO/CMO Alignment

By April 23, 2015News, Technology

Take a look at what Forbes magazine is calling the C-suite’s newest power couple: the CMO and CFO.



In today’s business world, the silos are falling and C-suite occupants are wearing multiple hats. In many cases, there’s an entirely new alignment occurring. This is especially true in the ever-growing need for collaboration between the CFO and the CMO. In fact, a Forbes article calls this dynamic duo “the C-suite’s newest power couple.”

CFOs were always the go-to guys for numbers; now they have a vital role in shaping the strategic direction for the company. CMOs were in charge of branding and advertising; they were the go-to creative guys. But try to find a CMO today who isn’t deeply involved with analyzing data to make more strategic marketing decisions. A recent IBM’s Institute for Business Value survey found that, although 72% of CEOs surveyed are turning to their CFO for strategic advice, a full 63% look to their CMO for that same issue. Business today needs to be agile, with the ability to recognize new and changing trends in a timely manner. Big data enables companies to do that, but with the enormity of data available, there needs to be investment in an analytics system that can help companies (especially the CFO and CMO) turn those numbers into successful business endeavors. In fact, a Marketing 2020 survey found that over 40% of companies that had their marketing and finance teams working together closely outperformed expectations as compared to companies where those departments were still working in silos.

The point of divergence is often on measuring marketing initiatives against ROI. That’s often a time-related issue. An article published last year in MarketingProfs noted that in a survey of CMOs and CFOs, conducted by Active International, only 12% of CFOs rated their CMOs as excellent in connecting marketing initiatives to ROI. CMOs know that, when it comes to developing relationships with customers, there’s a need to focus on long-term growth which is more difficult to quantify. CFOs, on the other hand, need those quantifiable results to present to their CEO and Board of Directors. To create a successful relationship, which will hopefully translate to success for the company, the CFO and CMO will need to figure out how to align with one another. The MarketingProfs article provides four quick tips for that alignment:

  • CMOs should share information with their CFO on a regular basis
  • Establish a common ground; ways to save the company money or stretch budgets
  • Commit to a long-term vision of success with an understanding that CFOs must justify all expenditures
  • Create a common language. Marketing and Finance have their own terms; instead, find terms that are relevant to both positions

Collaboration between these two C-suite occupants is only going to grow and those companies that promote that pairing will find the benefits are substantial.

Kate Freer

About Kate Freer

Kate Freer is Vice President of Marketing for AmeriQuest Business Services. In this role, Kate is responsible for AmeriQuest’s marketing and communications activities, including image and market development, corporate communications, media relations, brand management, advertising, and market research and analysis. She leads go-to-market strategy for AmeriQuest and its subsidiary companies.Prior to her current role, Ms. Freer served as Director of Marketing of AmeriQuest. She joined the company in 2004 as Marketing Manager, was promoted to Director in 2007, and subsequently promoted to Vice President of Marketing in 2012.Before joining AmeriQuest, Ms. Freer held various marketing, communications, and advertising roles in the publishing industry for Information Today, Inc. and the Courier-Post, a Gannett company.Ms. Freer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stockton University.

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