Risk is not a four letter word. Ok, it is, but it isn't that sort of four letter word. In fact it's just the flip side of reward and reward is what we are all after in business.
Risk management is more likely to be found in the domain of the accountants in a business, and is one of the most important functions of the financial director.
And when the marketing director and the financial director are on the same page with regard to marketing and market risk, then the chances of success and reward are that much greater.
Unfortunately, not many marketing and financial directors see eye to eye on this subject, mainly due to the different character traits of the typical incumbents and a lack of appreciation of the nuances of each discipline.
For the past couple of decades, I have, as a marketer, always insisted on having the financial director present whenever I am doing a presentation to a company board. I have also done away with “marketing-speak”, preferring instead to use “boardroom-speak” which is more understood by that particular audience.
What I have found is that companies do not only need to understand the importance of the accountant/marketer relationship but more often than not need someone from outside to expose the, often serious, risks faced by organisations in the marketing discipline.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of working on the board of a health insurance company with a fellow non-executive director, Michael Scott.
Michael is an independent chartered accountant and outsourced financial director to various companies just as I am an independent marketer.
For any client company to function profitably and manage its risk efficiently, Michael and I, as a team, need to fully understand each other - what we do and why we do it, and this has come over time, with experience.
Both of us sit on risk and audit committees, where amongst other risks, the marketing and market risks are identified and mitigated.
I am hoping that in the future Michael and I will serve on more boards in a non-executive capacity because we make a good team, able to address the financial and marketing strategy, with their concomitant risks.
Michael, like all good accountants, has an aversion to marketers who claim that advertising, PR and so forth, can’t be measured. I agree with him wholeheartedly because any marketer who does not build measurement tools into everything, is not a marketer but simply a lottery operator.
Far too many companies are so busy with day to day operations, they simply cannot see the wood for the trees, and are taking risks beyond logical limits. Outside influence and advice from both a marketing and accounting perspective is the only way of bringing about rational strategies.
If you would like to chat to Michael you can contact him at or you can reach me at .
Apart from being a corporate marketing analyst, advisor and media commentator, Chris Moerdyk is a former chairman of Bizcommunity. He was head of strategic planning and public affairs for BMW South Africa and spent 16 years in the creative and client service departments of ad agencies, ending up as resident director of Lindsay Smithers-FCB in KwaZulu-Natal. Email Chris on and follow him on Twitter at @chrismoerdyk.
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