Valuable and return business is based on trust. You trust your hairdresser to make you look good. You trust your barista to serve a coffee according to your taste. You trust your mechanic to fix your car and keep you safe on the road. And CEO’s trust their marketing departments to generate more business-quantifiable customer demand for products and services.

Problem is: CEOs don’t trust marketers.

That’s apparent in a new survey by marketing consultancy Fournaise, which polled 1,200 chiefs of large and small companies. Campaign Asia reported the findings, which are your wake-up call ringing from an armada of alarm clocks:

“For B2C CEOs, more customer-demand means more sales revenue. Unfortunately, nearly seven in 10 of B2C CEOs believe their marketers now live too much in a creative and social-media bubble and focus too much on parameters such as ‘likes’, ‘tweets’, ‘feeds’ or ‘followers’—parameters they can’t prove generate more business-quantifiable customer demand for products and services. CEOs regard these parameters as “interesting but not critical”.

For B2B CEOs, more customer demand equates to more qualified or sales-ready prospects in the sales pipeline. More than 70 per cent of these CEOs believe that their marketers are focused on the latest marketing technologies but are failing to deliver the level of incremental customer demand expected of them.

These CEOs feel marketers are too distracted, get sucked into the the “technological flurry and jargon” related to system integration and forget that technology is meant to be used only as a support tool. These tools don’t create demand per se; only accurate strategies and campaigns pushing the right products, product benefits, content and customer value propositions do.”

While the marketing echo chamber continues to discuss secondary tertiary issues like engagement, value of connections, interactions…(Please add your buzzwords here), CEOs get this nagging feeling that marketers love fluff and despise substance. CEOs trust their finance and tech departments more, and the marketing department is as beloved, respected and trusted as US Congress.

Even worse, CEOs believe marketers measure the wrong objectives, focusing on performance indicators that are not theirs, such as prospect conversions and revenue. Instead, marketers should focus on the customer-demand related indicators, which are directly linked to their job and over which they have control.

What to do?

“Marketers should zoom in on a few critical key business performance indicators to precisely measure, quantify and report on the level of customer demand they are delivering, according to the study.

To earn the CEO’s trust and prove that they are solid business generators, 74 per cent of CEOs want marketers to be completely ROI focused.

B2C CEOs want these ROI marketers to be focused on tracking, reporting and boosting four key marketing performance indicators: sell-in, sell-out, market share and marketing ROI (defined as the correlation between marketing spending and the gross profit generated from it).

Meanwhile 85 per cent of B2B CEOs (and B2C CEOs in prospect-driven industries) would like ROI marketers to focus on tracking, reporting and boosting prospect volume, prospect quality rate, marketing effectiveness rate (defined as the percentage of marketing spending that directly generated prospects) and the business potential generated by marketing.

“Marketers will have to understand that they need to start “cutting the rubbish” if they are to earn the trust of CEOs and if they want to have a bigger impact in the boardroom,” explained Fontaine. “They will have to transform themselves into true business-driven ROI marketers or forever remain in what 65 per cent of CEOs told us they call marketing la-la land.”

For too long, marketers have seen data as an aid to justify media spend and overall marketing investment. This harsh wake-up call should spell an end to this justification era. Marketers need to use data to drive, determine and justify their marketing and media plans.

What are you going to do? Wake up or hit the snooze button?