Marketing for CFOs

Marketing for CFOs

BITS, predictable and accountable marketing

I have known Frans de Groot for a long time. My brother used to work for him when he had his own creative buro. That was over twenty years ago. In those days Frans was already talking about the methodology he had developed, called BITS.

The marketing alternative

The alternative to the 4Ps. Not Product, Place, Promotion and Price, but Branding, Image, Traffic and Sales. It scarred me for life. Ever since I have queried the connection between marketing and sales. Many marketers can’t answer that question.

Predictable marketing

The beauty of BITS is that the campaign becomes predictable and it ALWAYS starts with Sales and the profit margin from sales. Because that is the maximum budget available for the campaign. The sales will tell you the traffic you need (website visits, sales meetings, etc.), Image will tell you how many potential customers have to like you and Branding will tell you how many need to know about your company.

Combine that with a “not-to-copy” message and you have a recipe for marketing success.


Since then it has been validated by scientific research (it works), BITS is being taught by universities in Holland and has been used by hundreds of companies, including HP, Shell, Schiphol, Boer en Kroon (the Dutch version of McKinsey), etc.

CFOs will love this

It is the methodology that Chief Financial Officers like. CMOs less so. It makes them accountable. I have asked Frans many times to spread the message and write a book. He finally has. Titled “The Seven Laws of Guaranteed Growth, BITSING”. Only available in paperback. Which is not going to do his “T” of Traffic any good.

Simple messages

The messages from the book and the power is in the simplicity.

  • Set three goals. The continuity goal, the ambition goal and the dream goal. Without goals you are ruthless.
  • Focus on the facts only
  • Realised turnover is the only metric that counts
  • Focus on your strengths (or in his words, use the sharpest pencil)
  • Ignore change management, focus on small incrementals
  • There are only 3 barriers to selling; preference, buying behaviour and loyalty. They can be ranked in importance and should inform your campaign.
  • A scorecard analysis of the market success factors and a comparison between your organisation and the competitors will tell you where to focus.
  • Categorise the differences in emotional, rational and relational and again let that inform your focus
  • Use that as the basis to find your not-to-copy
  • There is always a not-to-copy
  • Never spend more money than the sales forecast of the planned campaign


Unfortunately, after that the book gets very technical, but it is perfect as a taster to try the methodology. It is a workbook. And as a CFO, CMO or CEO, you should consider reading it.

There is no escape

The beauty is that it is logical, factual, numbers driven and leaves very little room for escaping the truth. In that way it is very Dutch. It is very direct. Or the Navy Seals approach to marketing, which is “Extreme ownership” The cheque or bucks (literally) stop with you.



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Tuesday, 13 November 2018
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