According to an Accenture survey of 200 executives worldwide, marketing ranks pretty low on the priority list. The recent survey titled Marketing: Underrated, Undervalued and Unimportant? found that executives by and large felt that sales and customer service makes more significant contributions to the company than marketing does. Of those people who felt marketing was one of their most important functions, only 28% believe their marketing efforts rival their competitors, while 43% feel their efforts are on par with others' efforts in their industries.

What's the problem? Accenture discovered two principal factors. First, senior executives don't fully understand the role of marketing because their backgrounds are generally in finance or operations. Second, it's difficult to measure the ROI on marketing programs since what marketing departments do is largely contingent on how other departments perform.

It seems strange to me that in an increasingly competitive business environment that marketing doesn't rank higher on executives' lists. Where does it fall in your company? And have you found a way to measure its success?