What Should a World-Class Marketing Department Look Like?

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One of my clients asked a question the other day which, on the face of it, should be simple to respond to, but it’s actually got me thinking in circles, so I thought I’d see if the CustomerThink community have any thoughts.

The question is: “What would a world-class marketing department look like?”

Any thoughts by return of comment gratefully received!

All the best

Kevin

PS, I’ve sent this request by email to a lot of colleagues and I’m looking forward to seeing their replies. I’ll collate them into a posting when I get them all back.


Malcolm Wicks
January 7, 2008
World class marketing department

The first way to recognise a world class marketing department is that they would be happy. Second, headhunters would be ringing them every day. Third, they are being quoted and used widely as case studies of how to do it. Fourth, they don’t get their budget cut. Fifth, Sales believe they add value.

Talking about how to achieve these five things is a different matter.


Francis Buttle
January 23, 2008
Not look like, but achieve

Hi Kevin

I’m not surprised that it’s got you running round in circles. It’s a question that doesn’t merit an answer. A world-class marketing department doen’t look like anything. A world-class marketing department achieves world-class results. Achievements, not appearance, matters. That said, world-class is pretty meaningless too. If my bosses want me to lift demand 40% next year, because that’s all the additional capacity my company can cope with, then that’s all that matters. Even the word ‘marketing’ means different things to different people, of course, but my take on it is that marketers, universally, are charged with managing customer demand. Sometimes that means reducing demand (e.g. for water consumption, as here in Australia) or destroying demand (e.g. for methylamphetamine) but for most of our CustomerThink community, it’s about lifting demand. Some great companies don’t even have marketing departments, for that matter.

Francis Buttle


Graham Hill
January 24, 2008
Form Follows Function

Kevin

As Francis’ answer points out, the form of the marketing organisation should follow the function it is supposed to fulfil. But Francis is wrong to say that a WCMO doesn’t look like anything. The marketing organisation needs to be able to deliver shifting short-term goals, but it also needs to deliver long-term strategies and to do so as part of a larger organisation. That means it needs a structure that is relatively stable, even though teams within it may change and annual marketing goals will change (often several times a year).

World-class marketing organisations provide models that we can all learn from. We just shouldn’t mindlessly copy their organisation structures, coordination mechanisms and work routines, and expect them to work for us in the same way.

There are many resources which will help you to think about how the organisation should be structured. Take a look at The CMO Council wesite for the CMO’s view of organisation. At Peter Kim’s work on Reinventing the Marketing Organisation at Forrester Research. And at the many books, articles and websites which discuss different aspects of organisation design in Marketing.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager


Kevin Mason
January 24, 2008
As promised, here’s the document

Hi All,

many thanks for all your posts. It’s been a fascinating discussion joined by many on and offline. I’ve now written up my take on the subject plus commentary and input from clients and colleagues. If you’re interested you can download it here:

http://www.proctors.co.uk/world-class-marketing-department.aspx

Any feedback, post it here – I’d love to hear from you.

Kevin

Kevin Mason
Director
Intimis
www.intimis.com


Graham Hill
January 24, 2008
Where’s The Meat

Kevin

Like you I am interested in organising for marketing. It is a difficult topic. It is not helped by marketing people who don’t like adopting marketing processes (and they generally don’t), who don’t like their outcomes being measured (and they generally don’t) and who don’t know how to actually organise themselves to do marketing (and you’ve guessed it, they generally don’t).

I have to say I was a little disappointed by your presentation. It did a good job of setting out some of the close-to-the-market things that marketing people do. Hats off to you for that. But I was expecting more. I was expecting that you would set out how they would be done, what would support systems are needed and what your original question asked, what the marketing organisation should actually look like.

Perhaps these topics would be good ones to pick up in an extension of the presentation. Having said that, it is all too easy just to criticise. So do let me know if I can help you develop the presentation further.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager


Bob Thompson
January 24, 2008
A good topic for a book, not just a post

Graham, to include all the info you were “disappointed” not to find in Kevin’s document would make for a nice book. That’s a bit much to expect from one short document, don’t you think?

Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to identify one “best” marketing organization. But it would be interesting to look at high-performing marketing organizations (just how to measure that is another story) and see if where there is common ground.

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