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Boredom in the Boardroom? New Tool Unveiled to Make Reporting a More Interesting Task for Marketers

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Around 1 in 3 (30%) senior marketers only get 1 HOUR OR LESS a year to present results to their company’s board – that’s five minutes a month, the equivalent to making a tea round – but a quarter (25%) crave more airtime, according to a new survey by digital PR agency Bottle.  

Men are given longer to show their impact than women – 22% estimate they get over an hour (compared to 16%) per quarter, while one in 10 (11%) female marketers report having “no facetime”.

Worse yet, 1 in 5 (20%) marketers lack marketing representation on the Board.

The reception can be disheartening. Of the 570 in-house marketing decision-makers who present to the Board surveyed, over one in four (27%) have been interrupted by C-Suite members or had their presenting time cut short(24%).

But attention is hard to come by – almost two-fifths (37%) agreed that their seniors seem ‘distracted’, evidenced by some chatting among themselves (24%) and even taking a phone call (18%) during the marketing update.

Also, 1 in 10 (10%) marketers have also received yawns and a similar number (6%) eye rolls from those at the top. Blank stares have confronted 18%.

So, what’s driving these reactions? The age-old negative stereotype of marketing being “fluffy” is felt by 29%, while almost 3 in 5 (59%) – most of whom are women (66%) – worry the discipline isn’t taken seriously by Board members. In turn, over a third (36%) believe their results aren’t considered important.

The crux might be a lack of understanding, which more than two-fifths (42%) think is “limited” at board level. Nearly half (43%) of senior marketers end up repeating what the results mean each time they present. Their greatest wish is that it was easier to demonstrate the impact of marketing (40%) with those aged 35–44 the most exasperated (43%), though this declines with age.

The metrics the Board is interested in are ‘website traffic’ (47%) when it comes to PR and ‘customer leads’ (49%) for pure marketing.

“Reach” is resoundingly understood – in fact, 40% of senior marketers note it’s the KPI board members show the greatest interest in. But 3 in 10 (29%) have received feedback that the Board doesn’t believe some big reach numbers – so how can they make results to be proud of ‘stick’ in the minds of their seniors and add value?

Bottle has created a handy FREE new marketing tool called “How Many People” to help marketers translate their reach numbers into real-world equivalents that are easy to visualise and remember.

Marketers can get stats tailored to their sector, the world of business and even the latest cultural references to represent the scale of everything from coverage views to social reach. Say your influencer marketing campaign was seen by 5 million people – that’s roughly how many people watched the UK get “nil point” at Eurovision recently.

Managing director and co-owner of Bottle, Natasha Hill, commented:  “Marketers have long dealt with a perception issue at board level but, in recent years, digital tools have helped a growing industry prove ROI. The reality remains that two-thirds (67%) believe the only metric a board really wants to know is sales growth, according to our survey. Marketing and PR contributes so much more to long term commercial success, so it’s a shame that indicators like brand health and audience engagement aren’t given the airtime they deserve.

“That said, we’re encouraged that reach continues to be a popular, well-understood KPI. We’re pleased to launch a new (free) calculator to add to the digital toolkit that helps marketers demonstrate scale in a more tangible way. ‘How Many People’ can generate a stat in seconds to deliver as a killer one-liner in as much time – putting PR sparkle on a smaller figure or making large reach rightly ‘sing’ – adding potency to the shortest marketing update.

“Part of the problem is scientific – the human brain is designed to compare, not count, so it struggles to comprehend big numbers. We interact with small figures all the time, but anything beyond that becomes abstract.

“This explains why results in the millions and even billions can receive lacklustre responses. When compounded with a limited understanding of marketing and so many other business priorities, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Board can’t match our enthusiasm. But if we can use storytelling techniques when sharing the results and help them visualise the numbers, we’ll be the spot on the Board agenda they look forward to most each month.”

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