Marketing teams were once relatively stable structures with brand and direct marketing teams, perhaps a communications or events team, and a few agency partners. That has changed with the addition of significant digital, content and social requirements, perhaps a customer experience or sales function, data management requirements, product marketing, a plethora of smaller agency partners, and so on. These days marketing team restructures occur relatively often: every couple of years, if not more frequently.
This is driven by many factors: the advent of new channels and the resulting adoption of new marketing tactics and disciplines, the emergence of agility as a desirable marketing quality, new technology that enables centralised data management, and changing corporate strategies and structures.
It’s also driven by the relatively short tenure of chief marketing officers, the median term being about 2.5 years.
In fact, when a new CMO comes into a company, often one of the first things they do is restructure the marketing team.
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THE CHANGING STRUCTURE OF MARKETING IN THE AGE OF DISRUPTION
In this infographic, we outline 9 modern marketing team org structures we often see in operation; although it’s worth remembering that increasingly, marketing teams are being set up to be more customer-centric, cross-functional and agile.
Restructures occur for many reasons, among them:
• To add or expand the people, skills and capabilities required to do the job;
• To execute against a new corporate strategy;
• To create a more efficient marketing operating structure; and
• To facilitate wholesale business transformation, innovation or growth.
But it’s not enough to implement a new structure. It takes real effort to make those organisational changes effective.
Making your new marketing team structure work
It’s to be hoped the new marketing structure reflects the corporate strategy. In simple terms, a corporate goal of generating 25% of sales via ecommerce needs to be supported by the required digital marketing resources.
But once teams are in their new structure, that’s far from being the end of the process: in fact, it’s just the beginning. The new structure needs to work – quickly and efficiently – if the new CMO is to have any chance of executing against the strategy effectively.
Marketing team restructures don’t automatically result in more effective teams. In fact, according to Ben Horowitz of investment firm Andreessen Horowitz, “The first rule of organisational design is that “all organisational designs are bad”. This simply means that by their nature they prioritise some things and deprioritise others.
And when companies or teams are growing, things that were previously easy become difficult, including:
• Common knowledge; and
To be really effective, marketing team restructures should be supported by the following key steps:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communicate the reasons for the restructure and the objectives, as well as the new structure itself. Big changes create an environment of uncertainty for team members so make sure your new org chart is readily available, particularly for large teams. It’s much better to over-communicate these than to under-communicate them; while the whys and hows of a restructure may be understood by the management or lead team, it’s not always obvious to other personnel.
2. Align objectives
Communicate your corporate objectives, and how the new, reshaped marketing team has been designed to contribute to those objectives. Translate your corporate objectives into marketing-specific objectives. Reflect these in new staff KPIs (key performance indicators) or OKRs (objectives and key results). Keep communicating them and regularly benchmark or track your team’s progress against them.
3. Document your processes
Document the processes that will support the roles and teams in your structure. Eliminate duplicated or unnecessary steps: for instance, if your digital team has been merged into your brand team, do you still require two approvers for every digital campaign, or will one be enough? If personnel have been moved from one team into another, have the correct processes, and their role in them, been made clear? Particularly important for marketing is ensuring there are clear decision-making processes built in: for example, do you have an approver matrix that is understood by all? Communicate and make these centrally accessible to all: better still, enshrine them in a workflow management tool that automates your processes.
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4. Support with the right technology
Just as the nature of marketing has changed and developed, so has the nature of collaboration. If your marketing team is bigger than a few people, it’s no longer enough to hold meetings and send emails; these are woefully inadequate when it comes to speed, efficiency, transparency and compliance. Support your marketing process with technology that enables your team to:
• Communicate objectives;
• Access key documents, such as brand guidelines;
• Brief suppliers;
• Automate workflows;
• Record feedback and amendments; and
• Satisfy compliance and legal requirements.
5. Measure if it’s working
If you can’t measure something, it’s hard to improve it. So it’s important to create specific goals and success measures for the new org structure. The most switched-on marketing leaders measure operational factors such as campaign approval times, marketing compliance, missed deadlines, agency cost run-overs, media production runovers, brief revisions and campaign creation timeframes – among others. And if any of these blow out, it can be an important indicator that something needs to change: for instance, if agency costs skyrocket for one team, it may be an indication that they need training in brief-writing.
The big benefit from measuring marketing process and resource-based information is that when combined with budgets and campaign results, it provides a true measure of the return on investment of marketing activities.
6. Reassess and change if required
Once the new structure is live, the people working in it will also identify new problems. And they may well be right. Allow people to follow whether key objectives are being met, and to provide feedback. Develop strategies to minimise any issues that may arise or make changes as required.
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing team structure. But there are ways to make your marketing organisation work smarter.
Simple’s intelligent marketing resource management platform supports marketing team structures of all shapes and complexities to plan, manage and measure their marketing work, from agile teams to distributed enterprise structures. To find out how reach out to one of our representatives.