In today’s digital world, marketers’ roles have changed almost beyond recognition. Looking toward the year 2020, many marketing leaders are wondering how to drive growth in a rapidly changing environment. Following are top-level findings from a joint ANA and EffectiveBrands study examining how CMOs, CEOs, and other leaders can align their strategies, organizations, and capabilities to build their brands and generate growth in the years ahead.
Not all marketing departments are “future-ready.” The ANA has been receiving more and more questions from members looking for guidance on how to evolve their marketing departments. Some commonly asked questions:
- What are trends in marketing headcount in proportion to total sales?
- How have companies managed their infrastructure for the growth of digital?
- How are some bigger companies setting up social marketing practice?
- How do companies organize their traditional media and digital media teams?
- How are in-house agencies organized?
These questions might not go deeply enough. The role of marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, but most marketing organizational charts are based on a model established in 1973. The function of marketing needs real transformation; cosmetic changes alone are not sustainable solutions. Marketers need to first define business goals and only then consider organizational structure.
To look at what it takes to build leading marketing organizations and actionable frameworks, the ANA teamed with global marketing consultancy EffectiveBrands on the “Marketing2020: Organizing for Growth” initiative. Marketing2020 has become the largest study ever undertaken around the marketing function, as ANA and EffectiveBrands brought more than a dozen global partners on board for maximum reach across the industry.
Marketing2020’s objective has been examining how marketing can best focus and organize to support business growth. The means answering the following questions:
- What is the role of marketing in delivering the business strategy of an organization?
- What is the best way to structure the marketing department to achieve that success?
- How can a company build the capabilities that will equip its marketers for success?
- What are the critical skills, competencies, and behaviors of winning CMOs?
- Marketing 2020 launched in January 2013 with a series of roundtables, and featured 10,231 marketing participants from 92 countries. Top-level findings were unveiled at the ANA’s 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.
Marketing2020 Top-Level Findings
Driving business growth has become the No. 1 priority for CMOs. In the past, this objective might have ranked behind brand stewardship and fostering brand health. But CMOs are now embracing their roles as true partners in driving business growth.
Although marketers today have many new opportunities to reach consumers, there are also hurdles. The reality is that most top marketing challenges are internal, solvable, and within marketers’ control. Marketing2020 identified the following as the top challenges facing marketers around the world:
- Budget pressures
- Touch point consistency
- Organizational silos
- Lack of influence
- Privacy and information security
- Staying current
- Too much data (“infobesity”)
Marketing2020 also identified three characteristics that winning organizations have in common: big insights, purposeful positioning, and total experience.
- Big insights: Data is useless without the ability to use insights to drive decisions. Companies should move from collecting data about their customers to collecting data with their customers. Marketing2020 found that companies able to leverage each customer interaction (online and offline) to improve marketing effectiveness show real business results.
- Purposeful positioning: “Purpose” is sometimes confused with doing nice things in the community or creating ads that pull at the heartstrings. A brand’s purpose should be aligned with its core functions to create real competitive advantage. Purposeful positioning drives business growth. Marketing2020 found having a purposeful brand had an impact across all major KPIs. Purpose also has a practical benefit within an organization of breaking down self-imposed silos: purpose aligns employees.
3. Total experience: The depth and breadth of customer experience drives brand value. Brands need to offer an in-depth value proposition across a multitude of touch points and experiences.
Organizing for Growth
Marketing has become too important to be left just to marketers. It is the marketing function’s responsibility to lead from within a company and drive the transformation necessary to lead in the future. EffectiveBrands developed the Marketing2020 findings into five organizational principles: Connect, Inspire, Focus, Organize, and Build.
Connect: If marketing is going to lead a company-wide transformation, it’s crucial for it to be connected with the entire organization. It’s important to speak the language of key stakeholders; business acumen can become the currency to win license to operate across an organization.
Inspire: Marketing must inspire internally. If a company is aligned around a purpose, then marketing plays a key role in helping it tap into its potential. Marketers need to engineer less and engage more.
Focus: Focus drives growth. The key to success is to communicate effectively and often inside the organization to ensure continued alignment around the company’s core objectives and purpose. Marketing must play a major role in an ongoing, sustainable communication strategy that keeps the entire organization focused on its objectives.
Organize: Companies should look at moving away from the decades-old organizational chart model to a more dynamic and highly integrated organization with a hub-and-spoke structure. This requires deep strategic involvement and transformation. The hub-and-spoke model has the CMO in the middle with director roles forming the spokes and rim of the wheel. Silos become non-existent within the marketing organization through a full coordination of all constituents. Marketing2020 also concluded that new marketing roles will leverage pockets of expertise across categories and become aligned with a total customer experience.
Build: Building capabilities is the key to success in any profession. Companies must continue to invest in formal training in core marketing areas in order to remain competitive both as an employer (talent retention) and a business overall (striving for growth). Marketing2020 validates this by showing a direct correlation between companies which offer employees more formal training and the company’s overall performance. Over-performing companies offer their marketers more training, and building marketing capabilities is the most important driver of business growth.
Organizing for growth involves leveraging big insights, purposeful positioning, and total experience. Marketers are encouraged to assess their own readiness for marketing’s future using the Marketing2020 Mini PulseCheck tool below: