Long gone are the days of PR as a nice to have. Communications is a critical element of any good business and PR now makes an essential contribution to commercial objectives. Equally, demonstrating the ROI of PR and communications activity is part and parcel of any good CMO’s role. Far from being poles apart, the worlds of PR and finance are not so far removed – in fact they can really benefit from working together and there is much the two departments can learn from each other.
From a budgeting perspective, those responsible for finance are essential. CFOs will be key stakeholders when getting your marketing or communications budget approved. With better collaboration and understanding about the value of PR (beyond the once-a-year debate to agree annual marketing budgets) you can help showcase the work your team and agencies are doing, and how it’s helping push the business forward.
Finance departments can help marketing teams manage their budgets effectively and think strategically about both spend and reporting. All areas of business are coming under greater scrutiny to become more accountable, and the focus on demonstrating ROI from PR and communications is only going to increase. The CFO can help the CMO identify KPIs that really matter. By measuring properly, accurately and critically the things that impact on the business’ bottom line, CMOs can effectively report on ROI in meaningful ways to the wider organisation.
Finance directors are vast sources of valuable commercial information. This might be which product or service line is the most profitable, or which industry sector is set to really move the needle for the business. Marketing directors can use this valuable insight to shape their strategic activity and campaigns.
The modern marketer and communications professional is now expected to be an expert in both creative thinking and data analysis. Data is changing how PR and the wider marketing mix looks, and it’s critical that CMOs and their teams know how to leverage its power. The finance department can be a good port of call to help marketers get to grips with data analysis and upskill the marketing team.
All too often viewed as unlikely bedfellows, PR must not – and should not – stand in isolation from the finance function within businesses. Marketers’ increasing focus on evaluation can only be boosted by collaboration with finance departments, allowing all areas to gain more value from metrics, and build in things that will resonate across the more commercial areas of the business. Driven by rising commercial pressures, CMOs can best prove the worth of PR and communications activities by involving the finance director. So maybe it’s time to schedule that long-overdue lunch with your FD.