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Ryan Krause's Research on Marketing Pros as Board Members Featured in Harvard Business Review

Does having a marketing pro on the board of directors make a difference? Yes, says Krause, associate professor of strategy at TCU Neeley.

February 12,  2019

By Elaine Cole

Directors with marketing expertise can help firms grow.

As featured in Harvard Business Review, Ryan Krause, associate professor of strategy for the TCU Neeley School of Business, researched 1,091 companies to identify board members with executive-level marketing expertise. He then analyzed those companies’ financial statements.

The results: Having a marketing expert on the board was positively associated with revenue growth, in some cases raising it by nearly eight percentage points.

Directors with marketing expertise achieved this positive effect by shaping meeting agendas and focus areas, steering discussions and decision making, and influencing the CMO and other C-suite executives between meetings of the board.

This effect was magnified when:

  • Industry growth or market-share growth was weak, making boards more receptive to marketing input.
  • The CEO was also the board chair, presumably boosting management’s incentive to implement board recommendations.
  • Relatively few board members were CFOs, finance experts who can be resistant to marketing counsel because of the two functions’ differing organizational goals.

“When and How Board Members with Marketing Experience Facilitate Firm Growth,” by Kimberly A. Whitler, Ryan Krause, and Donald R. Lehmann (Journal of Marketing, 2018)