Bringing customers into the boardroom

Gail J. McGovern, David Court, John A. Quelch, Blair Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Misguided marketing strategies have destroyed more shareholder value than shoddy accounting or shady fiscal practices. Yet marketing functions typically reside deep in the organization, far from the executive suite and boardroom, and they are often poorly aligned with corporate strategy. Boards of directors, it would seem, have compelling reasons to monitor their companies' marketing activities. The authors argue that boards lack a clear understanding of how their companies are meeting customers' needs and how their marketing strategies drive (or often fail to drive) top-line growth. To help remedy that problem, they've devised a "marketing dashboard," a series of management reports that could give the board this critical knowledge. The dashboard has three parts, each of which the board should review regularly. The first part tracks the company's main business drivers - those business conditions that, when manipulated or otherwise changed, will directly and predictably affect the company's performance. The second part describes the specific innovations in a pipeline of growth ideas that will allow the company to reach its short- and long-term revenue goals. And the third part provides an overview of the company's marketing skill set so the board can determine not only if the company has enough marketing talent but also if it has the right marketing talent. Unlike isolated measures of marketing performance that are often insufficient, irrelevant, or misleading, the dashboard allows the board to quickly and routinely assess the effectiveness of its company's marketing strategies. Armed with a clear understanding of marketing's role and performance, the board can expose inadequate marketing campaigns, direct management to address the problem, and monitor progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-80+148
JournalHarvard Business Review
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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