POSTED BY: Rob Madigan

5 Ways To Improve The Marketing And Finance Alliance

18th Oct, 2018
shaking hands

5 Ways To Improve The Marketing And Finance Alliance

The relationship between the marketing and finance department is often stormy. Marketers, it is assumed, are all creative, while the finance people are only concerned with the profits and cash flow. However, the cooperation between these two groups is very important. The two types, while using different skill sets, can work together as a successful team under the right conditions.

Marketing costs are constantly changing and usually going up. Even a small business needs a marketing budget for a proper campaign on their product or service. What can be done to make sure that money is spent well?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Regular Meetings

The perception is that marketing is always going to ask for more while finance is always going to cut the budget. Neither side takes the time to sit down with their opposite number to explain exactly why money is needed or why it needs to be deducted.

Make sure both sides have a regular, sit-down session where marketing can explain the upcoming campaigns and what kind of funds they’ll need, and finance can explain just how and why certain bottom-line number must be met. Don’t wait until after communications have broken down, but start having these interdepartmental meetings long before.

  1. Share Success Stories

When finance sees a large expenditure, without knowing anything about it, they are going to want to prune that expenditure — that’s what they’re paid to do. But if marketing will only take the time to explain to them that that particular line item expense brought in so much traffic and helped brand positioning, they may give it a second thought.

Brand managers may have a lot on their minds, but they should never forget to let finance know how the money is successfully being spent.

  1. Budget Responsibility

This is important all the time, not just during budget crises. Go to the accountants for suggestions on how to cut back on non-essential expenses. They will love that. Make some suggestions to finance on how expenses could be cut back. They’ll love that even more.

When finance sees that you are dedicated to helping to keep a solid marketing budget, they are more likely to cut you some slack if and when you need it.

  1. Start Thinking Like Accountants

Avoid going to finance with a vague proposal or with a project that you can’t nail down to the last euro. A request for “a couple hundred-thousand or something around that” is likely to be rebuffed. Do your homework and have the figures ready for inspection. That way finance is not handing marketing their numbers, marketing is handing in their own numbers. This makes negotiations easier and friendlier.

  1. Avoid Sweeping Mistakes Under the Rug

If the numbers are wrong, get in touch as soon as possible; don’t try to postpone the bad news or put the blame somewhere else. The heads up will be appreciated.


Rob Madigan FCA CTC BCOMM, Financial Controller
Rob, a chartered accountant, is the FC for Neworld, a creative branding agency with over 30 years’ experience developing brands to position them for future growth. He has worked with Neworld since September 2008 and guided the company through interesting waters. Rob admires greatly his colleagues’ creativity, energy, and enthusiasm for their work and is happy to be a little part of the show. He previously worked in accountancy with PWC and Madigan + Co and in hedge fund administration with Citco Fund Services Dublin.