Call it a recessionary trend, or emergence of something more disturbing, increasingly marketing function is being operationalized.
Management believes that marketing is a cost function, and only knows to spend budgets on campaign (s) which have little or no impact on sales or bottom line of business. Hence it is in the right spirit to curtail marketing to coordinate with media partners (agencies/vendors) and keep the all important budgeting function with commercial/finance.
If anyone has to be blamed for this perception it is us, the marketing fraternity, because we have succumbed to the "one up man ship of spends" syndrome. How many times have we really understood the ROI associated with the spend and hence established a near real, near possible co relation between what we spend and hence what sales has it contributed. Take a look at how various partners react to ROI question
Media seller/Owner - "Media will deliver reach, not response". Very valid point.
Media Agency - "Sales is a function of many external factors, which are beyond our control"
Marketing has to take onus for the spends, and align all important functions like Sales , Distribution, trade, and communication under one roof to deliver good communication, good product.
More disturbing trend is the commercial/Finance getting into marketing sphere and taking all important decisions on spend, actually negotiations, which generally are with less competent/value media partners.
Finance is least likely to rummage through media strengths and media efficacy of the various partners and hence take a informed negotiation call. And most likely negotiation value is reciprocal proportionate with the media strength. Thus skewing the negotiation logic more in favor of less powerful media partner.
However call it a recessionary trend, or a long term syndrome, more and more media negotiations which should be a marketing stronghold are being dealt by commercial/finance function.
While I am in no way making a case against Finance/commercial but amplifying my concerns about the strategic mistakes, or shortsighted approach to business amongst corporates.