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The Marketing Organization Redefined: A Network of Teams Approach

By Marc Brown | August 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Organization and Operations

Organizational redesign involves the integration of structure and processes to support the implementation of a marketing strategy and goes beyond the traditional tinkering with “lines and boxes.” A common mistake is to focus on what the organization looks like (its reporting structure, for instance) and forget about how it works (management and business processes and systems; the numbers, capabilities, mindsets, and behaviors of its people).

And let’s face it, organizational design is difficult, complex, and constitutes a significant risk if done hastily. The truth is, marketing leaders are struggling to redesign their marketing organization structure, unable to balance on-going operational needs with future marketing innovations. Many won’t take the risk.

Based on feedback from my previous “Designing an Effective and Adaptable Marketing Organization” blog, I wanted to talk more about getting your organizational redesign refined based on ‘how your team’ works, or in architecture and design, following a “form follows function” methodology.

Before diving in, I want to clarify terminology around centralization, decentralization, and hybrid models. Centralization refers to the concentration of management and decision-making power at the top of the organizational hierarchy to coordinate financial, human, and other business resources. In contrast, in decentralized organizations, formal decision-making power is distributed across multiple groups, regions, or business units. Hybrid organizations, or a network of team’s approach, use a mix of both centralized and decentralized models (structure and process) bolstered by a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow. It’s notable that although centralization can involve the colocation of personnel, it does not have to…centralization is more about where decisions get made, and work is done, rather than where people sit.

Basing your design on team function, marketing leaders need to analyze each of their team’s objectives. For example:

  1. A Regional VP of Marketing, responsible for regional commercialization efforts, would need to integrate local insights – customer, competitive and market knowledge – into their campaigns. They would be expected to be very responsive to the local market needs, leveraging strong coordination and communication, favoring co-located resources.
  2. A Global VP of Marketing Operations would apply uniform and controlled procedures to support program execution and reporting. They would be expected to be reliable and accurate, preferring direct reporting line authority over the team.
  3. A CMO would decompose their team into individual functions, analyzing each.
  4. … and more.
Network of Teams Organization: Harnessing the Strengths of Centralized and Decentralized Models
Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 9.30.21 AM

(Source: Gartner 2018)

Once done, a new composite hybrid organizational model will emerge – a “network of teams” with empowered groups, strong affiliation towards customer-, product-, market-, or innovation-focused domains, enabled through rapid information flow – allowing marketing leaders to more effectively support their marketing mandate.

Let me know how you are evolving your org design to keep pace with today’s digital business.  And stay tuned for more research coming in this area.


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