How to Create an Organizational Structure for Modern Marketing Success

Revenue Marketing Journey: Milepost 2

In a prior blog post I discussed first steps in the Revenue Marketing JourneyTM. In this post, we delve into the detail of the first of those steps – organizing for your modern marketing organization 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?

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Traditional B2B 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 B2B firms had marketing organizations that looked something like this:

A traditional B2B marketing organizational structure, as depicted in an org chart

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.)

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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.

Instead, let’s focus our attention on the three newer areas:

  1. Marketing operations
  2. Content and digital services
  3. 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 B2C or B2B 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

A modern marketing organizational structure focused around revenue

Digital 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 are responsible for all the raw content.

In many cases, they will depend on subject matter experts 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 Group

Demand Generation comprises brand awareness building, thought leadership, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, loyalty marketing and advocacy. For a best-case team structure, 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 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 operations include analysts, competitive intelligence, data management, project management, marketing technology and vendor management, training, and process experts. Occasionally, we’ve 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. For instance: Is the website regarded as mostly infrastructure, demand generation, or content?

In the next three posts we will dive one level deeper into each of these three functional areas, starting with Marketing Operations. Click here to read part three!

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As posted previously in Target Marketing Magazine on October 27, 2016

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