The Marketing Accountability Standards Board began as a visionary initiative by industry professionals and academics who saw an opportunity to increase the contribution of the marketing function through the development of standards for marketing performance measurement and processes that link marketing activities more objectively and closely to the financial performance of the firm.
THE BOARDROOM PROJECT
In 2004, responding to mounting pressure from corporate boardrooms for accountability in marketing, 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.
“Measurement standards are essential for the efficient and effective functioning of a marketing-driven business because decisions about the allocation of resources rely heavily on credible, valid, transparent, and understandable information,” said Dr. David Stewart, Boardroom Project member and current MASB Chair.
“The absence of well-accepted and uniform definitions of marketing constructs, measures, and processes has hampered the ability of the marketing discipline to be a full partner in the strategic decisions of the firm, much as operations was hampered by idiosyncratic processes and the lack of standards prior to the advent of the quality movement,” he added.
The body 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.
“This is a seminal opportunity to approach the measurement foundation of accountability and improvement at the highest level: across industries, disciplines and domains; with common language, purpose and financial denominators; and with collaboration and coordinated efforts over time,” said Kate Sirkin, Founding Director.
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.
Setting Standards 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.
“As it was for product quality in manufacturing (with ANSI and ISO) and financial accounting and reporting (with FASB and IASB), marketers taking the lead in this will gain sustained competitive advantage,” concludes director Dr. Joseph Plummer.