There is a lack of consensus in many organisations between chief marketing officers (CMOs) and the rest of the C-suite over the value marketing provides to the company, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and customer analytics software firm SAS. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled 'Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite', noted that non-marketing executives (that is, the CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and other functional heads and board members) tend to prioritise driving revenue (30%) ahead of acquiring new customers (19%). However, for CMOs, priorities are led by new product and service creation, customer acquisition, and then driving revenue.

But this is not the only disconnect that the report identified. CMOs and other C-suite executives also disagree on what metrics best track return on marketing investment, whether the company clearly understands customer tastes and needs, who represents the voice of the customer within the organisation and which channel is most effective for customer engagement.

These fundamental differences may explain why a worrying 20% of CMOs say they are only consulted on marketing strategy, but don't take the lead (and 3% report playing no role at all).

According to SAS, the findings illustrate a dilemma: While 28% of CMOs blame their inability to deliver more value on a lack of senior management support for marketing investments, only 17% of other C-suite executives agree.

Half of CMOs say their ability to be more strategic is stymied by a shortage of marketing talent and challenges in clearly demonstrating return on investment (ROI). And nearly half report disagreement over what marketing should be delivering.

These results indicate that CMOs are not convincing C-suite colleagues that marketing significantly contributes business value. CMOs stand a better chance of increasing their internal influence - and changing lingering doubts about marketing's strategic contribution to the business - if marketing can consistently deliver insights and capabilities that benefit others across the organisation, including salespeople, call centre agents and merchandising teams.

Applying analytics to the wealth of customer, operational and financial data within an organisation and using the resulting intelligence to drive business performance will help, the report concluded. With this 'big data', CMOs can tie customer insights to strategic outcomes across all channels, and business functions not only have a meaningful effect on customer experience, engagement, loyalty and marketing performance, but can also prove ROI.