One of the biggest problems facing CMOs and directors in marketing is talking in the everchanging and nebulous language of marketing rather than the language of the C-suite and financial decision-makers.

Speaking the language of the C-suite not only enhances marketers' credibility but also increases chances of getting meaningful resources for carrying out important marketing activities.

There are several ways to speak the language of financial decision-makers. At the upcoming MarketingProfs B2B Forum, I have a presentation called Clean Up Your Language, outlining numerous approaches.

In this article I want to talk about one straightforward way to connect more with financial decision-makers: presenting marketing in terms of assets.

Assets is the term used by CFOs, accountants, and others. Most of Marketing's work centers on building intangible assets, including brand, content (information and knowledge), customer lists, etc. But marketers also have tangible financial assets—in the form of customers.

So, what arguments can you make about customers as financial assets?

Recognizing Customers as Valuable Assets

Customers are undeniably one of the most valuable assets that any business can possess. They form the foundation upon which successful companies are built, and their satisfaction and loyalty are key drivers of long-term success.

In today's highly competitive market, where competitors can easily replicate products and services, the relationship with customers sets a business apart.

Companies that recognize the significance of their customers and prioritize their needs are the ones that thrive.

Revenue and Profitability

Customers bring revenue and profitability to a business. A company cannot sustain itself in the market without a steady stream of customers.

Each customer constitutes a potential source of income and growth, making it crucial for businesses to attract, retain, and nurture their customer base. Companies can generate repeat business and foster customer loyalty by delivering products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations.

Moreover, satisfied customers often act as brand ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth recommendations and attracting new customers, thereby contributing to the growth of the business.

Insights for Improvement

Customers provide invaluable feedback and insights that enable businesses to improve their offerings.

By listening to customer opinions, preferences, and concerns, companies can better understand their target market. This information can be used to refine existing products, develop new offerings, and enhance customer service.

As I noted in a previous article, engaging with customers through surveys, focus groups, and social media platforms allows businesses to gather valuable data and make data-driven decisions.

Customers are therefore a valuable resource for innovation and business development.

Long-Term Relationships and Customer Lifetime Value

Building strong connections and delivering exceptional experiences foster customer loyalty and retention.

Loyal customers tend to make repeat purchases and increase their spending over time, resulting in higher customer lifetime value (CLV). Moreover, long-term customers are more forgiving of occasional missteps, providing businesses with an opportunity to rectify mistakes and regain trust.

By investing in customer relationship management (CRM) strategies and focusing on personalized interactions, companies can cultivate enduring customer relationships, enhancing profitability and sustainability.

Calculating the Return on Customer Assets

To further emphasize the value of customers as assets, consider calculating the return on customer assets. Just as other parts of the business calculate return on assets by dividing net income by total assets, marketers can apply that concept to customers.

By quantifying the financial impact of customers, you can present marketing in a language that other stakeholders within the organization readily understand. Taking this approach highlights the tangible value customers bring to the business and reinforces the importance of investing in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Summing Up

Customers are an invaluable asset for any business, contributing to revenue generation, growth, and overall success. Recognizing their value and prioritizing their needs are essential for building a strong and sustainable company.

By aligning marketing language with the terminology used by the C-suite, marketers can gain respect and secure resources necessary for marketing initiatives.

In turn, by investing in customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty, companies can unlock the full potential of this valuable asset and position themselves for long-term prosperity in an ever-evolving marketplace.

In short: think of the language the C-suite uses to talk about the business of your company, and map your marketing language into their language to gain more respect and resources.

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Customers as 'Assets': Speaking the C-Suite's Language

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image of Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is MarketingProfs founder and CEO, positioning consultant, and emeritus professor of marketing. Over the years he has worked with companies such as Texas Instruments, Informix, Vanafi, and EMI Music Distribution to help them position their products defensively in a competitive environment. He is also the founder of Insight4Peace and the former director of Mindful USC.