Run a more adaptable and efficient marketing organization, no matter the disruption.
Balancing the need for short-term execution with long-term strategic planning — while combatting unprecedented talent challenges — is the most pressing issue facing CMOs as they examine their marketing organizations.
“CMOs struggling to solve execution problems often turn to quick, role-based hiring or reorganization tactics,” says Gartner Senior Director Analyst Amy Abatangle. “Instead, they should build the adaptive capabilities, capacity and structure necessary to successfully apply marketing strategy, not only today, but tomorrow.”
While you may be tempted to implement a total reorg based on what peer organizations are doing, the reality is there is no one-size-fits-all organization design. Instead, start by capturing the required skills and capabilities needed to deliver on your strategic objectives:
Develop a capability assessment. Consider which capabilities your team will need to execute against your strategic plan and collaborate with leadership to brainstorm. Capabilities for marketing can — and should — look different for each organization. For example, an inbound content marketing strategy will require one set of capabilities, while a heavy investment in paid media capabilities will require another.
Create scenario plans for mid- and long-term org changes. Ask yourself questions such as, “What impact would a new product have on our content marketing strategy?” Poke holes in your capability plan to address potential scenarios that could arise.
Resource and review capabilities. Identify the capabilities you have access to or where else they reside. Then, focus on gaps, misalignments or lack of capacity. Be sure to focus on skills rather than rigid job roles. Often, marketers have capabilities and skills that go beyond their official job descriptions or titles.
No. 2: Source capabilities
How will you resource missing capabilities or capacity? Understand the pros and cons of developing, acquiring or partnering to source capabilities based on your sourcing objective. For example, developing talent in-house gives you the most control of talent management. But it takes time and has an impact on business continuity should attrition occur.
When you are ready to develop a resourcing plan, create a scorecard to understand how specific capabilities or skills support strategic objectives to drive business outcomes.
No. 3: Align capabilities to your org structure
Adding capabilities or redeploying talent should be considered in the context of your current org design. Making changes often requires adjusting operating models and governance rather than necessitating a wholesale reorg. Consider incorporating the desired capabilities with the least impact to the business. This will reduce disruption and the likelihood of change fatigue. “Assess the relative strategic importance and difficulty of developing the capability,” says Abatangle. “Take into account the entirety of the marketing organization. In large, matrixed or distributed teams, there may be differing levels of operational maturity for a given capability.”
No. 4: Evaluate impact and emerging needs
And finally, understand that your organization design will need to adapt as your strategy changes. View it as an ongoing process to ensure the capabilities of your team continue to adapt to support the strategy.
Set objectives and metrics for the org changes you are implementing. Develop success metrics to track the impact on business outcomes. For example, if you need to improve sales enablement capabilities and put an account-based marketing strategy in place, you should be able to measure the results of your org changes at the tactical and strategic level. Tactical metrics may include the number of marketing-qualified accounts, engagement rate or pipeline velocity. Strategic metrics could be customer acquisition cost, lifetime value or revenue.
It’s also imperative to measure the outcome of capability development on the organization itself. Employee satisfaction, engagement, readiness, skills assessments and speed of execution can be helpful in understanding how well the capability has been integrated into the team.
Amy Abatangle Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner for Marketing Leaders practice, where she analyzes marketing leadership and strategy, with an emphasis on marketing strategy development and operational and organizational design. As a former CMO, Ms. Abatangle helps marketing leaders address the changing needs of running high-performance organizations while juggling competing strategic priorities and cross-functional business objectives.
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