Booted from the boardroom. Why marketing must change or be left out in the cold.

Can companies grow by using the power of marketing? Most CEOs and Managing Directors don’t think so.

This Special Report explains the reasons why – and what to do about it.

Marketing (and I include sales and branding in its activities) has been failing miserably for many years.

And company growth has suffered as a result.

That’s why I’ve published this Special Report for CEOs and Managing Directors of businesses large and small.

Booted from the boardroom some time ago, marketing and its two co-saboteurs – Sales (the Adversary) and Branding (the Babbler) – has been reduced to what many commentators describe scornfully as ‘the colouring-in people’ and even worse, ‘the t-shirt printing department.’

How? Why? The answers are well documented.

Marketing: A cost centre. But no profits.

Instead of the Marketing Department being seen in its correct role – a profit centre, achieving more sales and delivering shareholder value – it is deemed only as an expensive cost centre.

Its budget requirements continue to rise, yet no-one in the Marketing Department can explain just how much incremental business the sales and marketing budget will generate.

‘Today, many CEOs, Managing Directors and other board members view marketing as nothing more than a social media and brochure department.
It totally lacks commercial credibility and is therefore basically redundant when it comes to contributing anything meaningful to strategic business plans.’

That’s why CEOs, Managing Directors and other board members view marketing as nothing more than a social media and brochure department, totally lacking commercial credibility. And therefore basically redundant in terms of contributing anything meaningful to strategic business plans.

The failure of marketing strategy to show any kind of ROI on its activities is a crisis that requires urgent attention if many businesses are to survive – and thrive – in the coming year. As I write, Brexit is still such an uncertain path. And with even top high street names going to the wall, something has to be done to end the marketing mess, or many others will follow.

The urgent need for change.

Unfortunately, in marketing’s present condition, that won’t happen until a significant number of changes are made to marketing’s strategic and operational understanding.

I’ve covered these in my Special Report and highlight four critical issues that need addressing. I don’t pull any punches, and I’m in no doubt that marketers, sales people and brand managers will dislike me for what I’m stating.

But my goal is truly beneficent: a crusade to help marketing to retain its rightful position as a true board contributor. However, that comes with conditions.

Marketing needs to change. It needs to free itself from the hype and start talking in a way the boardroom understands – including ROI language.

‘According to recent studies, 77% of CEOs believe CMOs keep talking about brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters that their top management team has great difficulties linking back to results that really matter: revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation. What a shocking situation.’

Sales need to up its game, get with the 21st century and start working with – not against – the marketing department.

And branding needs to boot out the burbling babble and start talking sense about what a brand truly is. And how to maximise its strength.

The message to marketing is: Change as you must, or remain as the hundred-to-one outsider with little hope of connecting – or even communicating – with the board on issues of strategic importance and value.

Your free copy of my Special Report.

I hope you find the Special Report interesting and informative.

It may show your sales, marketing and branding strategy as being in the 20% that is actually giving you a positive return on your investment. In which case, congratulations are definitely in order.

Or it could be part of the marketing misery that has lost its way and doesn’t know where the road back to the boardroom is located.

If you would like a no-fee, no-obligation meeting to discuss how a sales and marketing audit can reveal just how effective your current strategy is – and what improvements might be made – call me on 0800 206 1255 or email me at

Download your pdf copy (around 3MB) by clicking on the link or the image and choosing ‘Save link as…’, ‘Save Link…’ or whatever option your browser gives you.

Special Report download link. >>Special Report: The Marketing Mess.

<< Download this article I wrote for Cambridge Business magazine.Is your marketing 50 years out of date? Probably.

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Brand Doctor: A brief bio.

I’ve spent nearly 40 years in advertising, marketing, design and branding. Starting life as a graphic designer and copywriter, I worked for Top-100 companies. I then progressed to heading up brand consultancies responsible for sales and marketing, branding, corporate identity and advertising for Yellow Pages, Virgin, AVIVA, EMI and British Telecom to name a few.

Throughout the years, I’ve also helped smaller businesses dramatically improve profits through building a powerful brand. (Not-for-profit organisations have seen their donor income increase using my brand approach too.)

I’m also a qualified psychotherapist. How people think and behave is crucial to knowing how to brand a business, and with 15 years of experience in the field of psychology, I'm better equipped than most to deliver brands that connect and engage with customers.

Psychology is a rare ingredient in marketing, but it should really lead the way. My psychotherapy work greatly influences the approach to branding I teach and formed the basis for my international best-selling book Branding Your Business.

‘James gave two consecutive keynotes for the past three years at our annual Indonesian Superbrands Conference. He is a breath of fresh air, bringing clarity and understanding to an audience of 400 senior marketing executives hungry for knowledge of ways to create leading-edge business and branding strategies.

James also gave two brilliant keynotes on the subject of sustainability, in advance of his new book The Starfish Business. He is now a Member of the Board of Advisors, Most Valued Business Indonesia, an exciting new initiative to recognise brands not just for their revenue, but for their social responsibility.

Whenever James comes to Indonesia, his fans eagerly await the latest from the Brand Doctor – and they are never disappointed. Thanks James – and good luck in all you do.’

– Alistair Speirs OBE
Chairman, Superbrands Indonesia
and Most Valued Brands

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