Storytelling as a Tool to Increase the Influence of Marketing Within the Firm: An Abstract
Marketing’s role within the firm has diminished in recent years, leading to marketing being absent from many C-suites and left out of the decision-making process. The average life span for CMOs is likewise in decline. This diminished status within the firm can be explained, at least in part, by the inability of marketing to (1) quantify many of its internal processes and outcomes of interest and (2) develop and convey insights from this data that can improve managerial decision making. These deficits leave marketing managers at a disadvantage compared to other departments within the firm when it comes to justifying expenditures and proposing strategic initiatives.
Marketers have developed new methods of measuring outcomes and processes and are now in a wash of data from various digital sources. However, the sheer volume of data has become unwieldy and has in fact made it more difficult for marketers to gain worthwhile insights to help the firm. When an insight is found, it can also be difficult to sell the value of this insight up the line.
We propose that data analysts are in a unique position to solve marketing’s key problems in this area. Data analysts are trained to handle large volumes of data and generate worthwhile insights. As such, they are in a prime position to become the primary storytellers of marketing’s value within the firm. Analysts are uniquely positioned to understand and speak toward the value of the firm’s data and the insights that can be found within it.
Storytelling may add authenticity to the data reporting process and help to build internal relationships, leading to positive outcomes for marketing within the firm. We propose that managers can encourage genuine storytelling behavior among analysts by (1) creating an ethical climate in regard to the analytical and reporting processes, (2) offering managerial support from within the marketing unit, and (3) fostering feelings of psychological ownership toward the firm.