An Organizational Structure for Modern Marketing Success

In last month’s blog post, I discussed first steps in the revenue marketing journey. In this post, we’ll delve into the detail of the first of those steps — organizing for success. What is the optimal marketing organization for influencing revenue? What legacy silos of skills need to be dispersed and what new skill sets must be acquired to improve the customer experience?

Marketing Organizational Structure SignIn last month’s blog post, I discussed first steps in the revenue marketing journey. In this post, we’ll delve into the detail of the first of those steps — organizing for success. What is the optimal marketing organization for influencing revenue? What legacy silos of skills need to be dispersed and what new skill sets must be acquired to improve the customer experience?

Traditional B-to-B Marketing Organization Models Are No Longer a Good Fit

If, like me, you were in marketing in the 90s, we’re “old but not obsolete.” You may recall many B-to-B firms had marketing organizations that looked something like this:Typical Global Marketing Organization in he 90s.That’s right, no marketing operations, and demand gen was part of the marcom director’s bailiwick, which included PR, direct mail, events and “branding.” Fast forward 25 years and we recognize the industry changes that lead to necessary updates in this structure:

  • We now have multiple channels to engage prospects and customers, more than just sales contact, telemarketing, events and direct mail. And since the majority of these new channels are digital, we have “digital marketing groups.”
  • We have an explosion of marketing technologies and customer data today, which benefits from having a team to govern these assets – marketing operations.
  • We have increased pressures toward marketing accountability for revenue leading us to hire analytically oriented individuals and data scientists.
  • Content has become king. To drive engagement with our prospects we need relevant, educational content. This explains why content accounts for 30% of the marketing budget. (Source: “2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America” – Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.)

Let’s set aside the areas that have not changed much, but are still required — product marketing, product management, channel alliances, research/competitors, analyst relations — and focus our attention on the three newer areas: 1) marketing operations 2) content and digital services 3) and digital demand generation. These three teams could be grouped together into a center of excellence, providing demand generation, content and data services to a larger global marketing organization. Collectively they:

  • Create and execute demand generation plans to influence revenue
  • Establish best practices, governance and standards for demand generation and optimization of marketing productivity through the use of people, process and technology
  • Create and deploy content and campaigns to field marketing for localized execution

Marketing Organization: Revenue Marketing Center of ExcellenceDigital and Content Groups

Yes, these are two groups, but often they roll up to one director or VP since there are strong ties between the two. The digital group owns the website infrastructure and the social channels. The content group has the designers, writers, production managers, the content strategists, and is responsible for all the raw content. In many cases they will depend on subject matter experts (SMEs) in other parts of the firm. Given the close working relationship between these two teams wherein one owns many of the channels and the other owns the content, it is logical to put them under one leader.

Demand Generation (DG) Group

Demand generation comprises brand awareness building, thought leadership, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, loyalty marketing and advocacy. The roles required for this team include campaign strategists, campaign program managers, technology power users, analysts, PR strategists, inbound marketing experts (paid traffic and organic traffic) and outbound marketing experts (email).

You may be surprised to find the inbound team here instead of under the digital group described above. This is a recognition of the burgeoning unison of inbound and outbound in creating multi-channel campaigns. The two functions benefit from working in the same demand generation group. We have a choice of channels for lead nurturing these days. We can now use retargeting through social channels, so we need to keep the inbound team tightly linked to the outbound team that has traditionally been used almost exclusively for nurturing.

Marketing Operations (MO) Group

Marketing operations centralizes the management of technology, process, data and marketing analytics. There is widespread belief that this centralization makes marketing more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable. The roles one finds in MO include analysts, competitive intelligence, data management, project management, marketing technology and vendor management, training, and process experts. Occasionally we have also seen firms put the technology power users into this group so they become a centralized service to the demand generation and field marketing groups.

Division of Functions

The division of functions between these three groups is not always clear. A guiding principal for determining where a team should live is whether they offer a function that is infrastructure and support related rather than day-to-day engagement campaign or content creation related. Is the website regarded as mostly infrastructure, or demand generation, or content for instance?

In the next three posts we will dive one level deeper into each of these three functional areas, starting with marketing operations.

For more insights, download TPG’s white paper: Introduction to the Revenue Marketing Center of Excellence.

Connecting Marketing Generations: Our Opportunity

Lucky is the marketing organization that has the best, brightest and newest marketing professionals—the “Rising Stars”—working alongside its experienced, proven marketing powerhouses. Sound like your company? Well, it could be

Lucky is the marketing organization that has the best, brightest and newest marketing professionals—the “Rising Stars”—working alongside its experienced, proven marketing powerhouses. Sound like your company? Well, it could be.

The speed of marketing is as fast as the speed of data—but are we incorporating all that’s gone before: The marketing maxims and truisms which are as constant as human behavior? We could be.

Are we dedicating all we need to training—both the newest career entrants to the discipline of testing, measurement, analysis and strategy, and—in the other direction—retooling for today’s marketing science and channel proliferation?

While marketing is at a crossroads of the true and the new, whichever generation we identify with, I hope that we are open and eager to learn from others. Call it “bidirectional learning.”

When Denny Hatch shared a perspective recently on the “Newest Generation of Direct Marketers,” I was taken aback by some of the posted comments. I believe folks mean well, but it appears that there might be something of a marketing generation gap opening among us. Is that happening in your company?

A dynamic career requires continuous learning. Today and tomorrow is a sharing, learning economy—for those who want to participate. That’s why I’m intrigued to see the Direct Marketing Association announce a new award—The President’s Award for Professional Development—recognizing a company or marketing department that has demonstrated a commitment to marketing education among professionals during the past 18 months, and can show results and impact for its efforts to train. Nominations are due June 27. Perhaps the winning company will have demonstrated bidirectional learning and the fruits it has borne.

In addition, as Marketing EDGE (a client) comes off its “stellar” Rising Stars event in New York (a top USA trend that night on Twitter!) earlier this month, let’s remember this is our marketing education organization, bringing the best and brightest of students into our field and our companies.


Marketing EDGE Overview from Marketing EDGE on Vimeo.

I’m not resigned to a marketing generation gap. No matter how old or how young, there’s a lot we need to learn from each other—and class is always in session. The opportunity is ours.

Consumer Reports Nets DMA ECHO Green Marketing Award 2011: Lessons for Every Marketer

One of the highlights of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2011 annual conference was the awarding of a special ECHO award to Consumer Reports, the organization behind the magazine of the same name. As a member of DMA’s Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility (CESR), I was one of the judges of this year’s competition, which looks to honor one marketing organization that has demonstrated environmental performance and sustainable practices in the design and execution of an advertising campaign.

One of the highlights of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2011 annual conference was the awarding of a special ECHO award—the ECHO Green Marketing Award—to Consumer Reports, the organization behind the magazine of the same name. As a member of DMA’s Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility (CESR), I was one of the judges of this year’s competition, which looks to honor one marketing organization that has demonstrated environmental performance and sustainable practices in the design and execution of an advertising campaign.

What makes the Consumer Reports entry remarkable is its demonstrated adherence to a set of environmental principles and practices known as the DMA “Green 15.” Established by DMA in 2009, the DMA Green 15 provides guidance to marketers on list hygiene and data management, paper procurement, printing and production, and recycling and workplace operations—all in an effort to support the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

The campaign itself was a recent subscription offer for Consumer Reports and ShopSmart magazines. The campaign did not sell an environmental product. It did not tout environmental claims. It did not involve environmental causes. Yet it won our discipline’s highest environmental marketing honor. Why? Because the campaign incorporated environmental sensitivity, efficiencies, and cross-company and supply chain engagement into everyday marketing planning and decision-making.

In short, the Consumer Reports effort is a blueprint that all marketers—commercial and non-profit—can replicate in their own everyday marketing.

Consider this excerpt from the entry:

We produced the Winter 2010/11 direct marketing campaign with the goal of strategically supporting the sustainability objectives of meeting our acquisition targets, serving the ongoing needs of consumers, and of being good stewards of the resources we use. Direct Marketing and Publishing Operations departments worked collaboratively guided by our internal Environmental Policy & Vision Statement to identify, implement, and track meaningful environmental choices made throughout the life cycle of the campaign season.

The overall environmental benefits of the choices we made included less energy and materials consumption, more benign manufacturing, and reduced emissions. Additionally, we promoted recycling of direct marketing packages that are recyclable, saved money, upheld response rates, and met our objectives.

The full entry incorporated actions that the Consumer Reports vendors undertook to increase efficiencies and environmental performance, as well as documented gains in paper procurement and use, mail design and production, and recycling and pollution reduction—all with measurements that document positive environmental impacts while achieving financial objectives.

I encourage all marketers to look to the example of Consumer Reports and its adherence to the DMA Green 15. In fact, the long-term sustainability of direct marketing depends on it.

Resources:
Direct Marketing Association’s Green 15 Toolkit for Marketers

With Special Permission, This Year’s DMA International ECHO Green Marketing Award Winner, Consumer Reports.

Editor’s Note: As of Autumn 2011, ConsumersUnion is newly rebranded as Consumer Reports.