At many companies, Marketing can't match the financially relevant, standardized measurements produced by peers in Finance and Operations.
In fact, among the three primary chief officers of most large companies—the chief finance officer (CFO), the chief operating officer (COO), and the chief marketing officer (CMO)—only the CMO does not use standardized measurements.
That is a big problem. The lack of financially relevant, standardized measurements weakens CMOs' stature.
As Amy Fuller, EVP/Group Executive, Worldwide Consumer Marketing at MasterCard Worldwide, succinctly state at the ANA Integrated Marketing Conference in 2008, "Measurement has always been the problem child in marketing and advertising. It's never been solved. The better we get at integrating things, the less easy it is to isolate specific effects to specific elements of the marketing mix" (see video, Grappling With Integrated Marketing's Metrics Paradox, Ad Age, June 2, 2008).
How Finance and Operations Standardized Their Measurements
The leaders of finance and operations long ago moved past their internecine rivalries, across preferences and even continents, to standardize measurements.
The Great Depression of the 1930s jolted the finance discipline into adopting standards for transparency and accountability, giving rise to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP*).CFOs have become so reliant on GAAP that it's hard to imagine doing business any other way.
Similarly, as the industrial society scaled up after World War II, operations leaders reached a series of critical agreements that are in effect to this day. The ISO** came into existence as an international organization to define and codify a broad range of operational descriptions, practices, and measurement.