The Boardroom Project

In 2004, responding to mounting pressure from corporate boardrooms for accountability in the marketing function, a cross-industry/cross-discipline body of marketing scientists initiated The Boardroom Project. Members recognized that measurement standards (tied to financial performance) are essential for the efficient and effective functioning of a marketing driven business, because decisions about the allocation of resources and assessment of results rely heavily on credible, valid, transparent and understandable information.

After comprehensive review of current practices, needs and accountability initiatives sponsored by industry organizations, it was determined that while marketing was not ignoring the issues surrounding metrics and accountability, the practices and initiatives underway were narrow in focus, lacking integration and generally not tied to financial performance in predictable ways.

The body then drafted Objectives of Marketing Standards and defined the Marketing Metric Audit Protocol (MMAP) for connecting marketing activities to the financial performance of the firm. This process includes the conceptual linking of marketing activities to intermediate marketing outcome metrics to cash flow drivers of the business, as well as the validation and causality characteristics of an ideal metric.

Finally, members of The Boardroom Project concluded that marketing will move from discretionary business expense to board-level strategic investment only through an independent standards setting “authority” for measuring (forecasting & improving) the financial return from marketing activities. As was true for manufacturing and product quality (with ANSI & ISO) and for accounting and financial reporting (with FASB & IASB), so it would be true for marketing and consistent growth (with MASB).

Establishing MASB was viewed as the seminal opportunity to approach the measurement foundation of accountability and continuous improvement at the highest level: across industries, disciplines and domains; with common language, purpose and financial denominators; and with collaboration and coordinated efforts over all, and over time. Thus in the fall of 2007, The Boardroom Project launched the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) of the Marketing Accountability Foundation (MAF) with 10 Charter Members, a 1-3 year plan, and a dozen initial standard’s projects.

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