Finance and Marketing: Partners Driving Growth

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
April 23, 2019

Every marketer knows they need to be aligned with Sales – but Marketing’s relationship with Finance is equally important for driving revenue. If Marketing maps their outcomes to investments and provides evidence of how they are driving revenue, Finance is primed to greenlight their budget increases.

Finance and Marketing are strong allies working towards the common goal of optimizing investment to drive revenue. In order to properly measure ROI and map revenue back to investments, it’s important to establish a set of metrics that appeal to both teams. With CMOs under increasing pressure to prove their value and CFOs controlling budgets, there has never been a greater need for transparency, consistency, and collaboration between the departments. The health of the Marketing-Finance relationship is critical to an organization’s success.

Connecting The Right Brain and the Left Brain

The alignment between Marketing and Finance at Cloudera (formerly Hortonworks) has created success for the organization as a whole. The CEO and CFO are interested in what impact the money they are spending returns. As the Director of FP&A, Carey Rutigliano is focused on creating a holistic view of investments and their results, which get funnelled back to the CFO. On the marketing side, Gina Reese, the Senior Marketing Operations Manager, is working on proving and improving ROI by optimizing marketing campaigns and pipeline. Together, Gina and Carey are driving impact and future performance at Cloudera.

The journey of interdepartmental cooperation started off with confusion over whether Allocadia’s Marketing Performance Management (MPM) platform was serving Finance or Marketing needs. Working with Allocadia, Carey addressed all of the concerns head-on, both teams realized they would benefit, and Marketing started to get excited about possible integrations down the road. With access to the right tools, the marketing team stopped working in silos and were able to offer evidence of their impact on the organization.

Create Processes That Work For You

Complementing Carey’s work on the finance side, Gina has been implementing a campaign hierarchy as a way of associating both program and tactic spend, lead generation, and profits to an overarching global campaign in order to see ROI at macro and micro levels. This helps Cloudera:

  • Track marketing activities more holistically
  • Provide deeper understanding and insight into the relationship between programs and tactics
  • Report data more accurately
  • Compare performance data and make effective decisions

Cloudera has created integrations between Marketo, SalesForce, Allocadia, Brightfunnel, and Netsuite that aligns all of the data sources to drive better insights and better impact. By having the data flow through these platforms, Cloudera is able to see ROI according to program for their big-picture evaluation and by tactic when they want a granular view of the results. Adding a finance tool like Netsuite to import actuals helps to keep everything in check, and provides an accurate look for both Marketing and Finance. The teams are working more efficiently because of the increased visibility, and driving greater impact for the entire company.

ROI Journey to Success

Now that Gina and Carey have built the processes needed, they are able to measure and see ROI. This picture will become even clearer as they collect more data and continue refining integrations. But you can’t have a good data structure without clean data – Gina and Carey incorporated regular audits to catch errors before they have a chance to derail the system.

The journey to ROI is different for every company. Along the way, Gina and Carey learned new efficiencies together, and championed each other’s successes as wins for Cloudera as a company. They know their role within the system and come to each other with mutually beneficial insights. Finance can be intimidating for Marketing; but by working together as allies, Gina and Carey are building a positive team culture and processes for success at Cloudera.

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