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The Changing Needs of a Marketing Org in the Age of Customer Centricity

By Marc Brown | August 01, 2019 | 1 Comment

MarketingMarketing Organization and Talent

The current marketing organization is under siege from the impact of new technologies, evolving business expectations, and drive for customer-centricity. While market leaders know their organizations need an overhaul, many are struggling to formulate a path. It’s no wonder. Securing the right talent, the right resource mix of in-house staff and external partners, and the ideal operating model are all in flux. Coupled with that, marketing leaders need to deliver while evolving.

Unfortunately, most marketing teams seeking greater agility and responsiveness struggle to access the right capabilities and implement effective operational models. In the quest for modernization and evolution, marketing leaders must establish solid team foundations focused on effective communication, coordination, and collaboration. In parallel, they will need to address capability needs, re-balance their resource mix of internal and external resources, and optimize their organizational design.

Source: Gartner Marketing Organizational Survey 2019


Gartner has been actively researching organizational needs and changes, focusing on 4 specific aspects of the modern marketing organization:

  • Capabilities: Marketers continue evaluating and transforming team DNA, focusing attention on essential capabilities the team needs to achieve its goals successfully. On top of this, it includes capabilities critical for efficient and effective operations, driving customer acquisition, and customer loyalty.
  • Operations Support: The operational element focuses on the benefits of a discrete marketing operations team and its associated responsibilities. Today’s most agile and successful organizations rely on marketing ops for several strategic functions.
  • In-house versus External Marketing Services Support: To keep pace with change, nearly 70% of marketing leaders say they rely heavily on agencies today to develop strategy and execute marketing programs — despite a preference to build more skills and capabilities in-house. That is something they plan to change by 2022, with a goal to reduce third-party agency dependence for marketing strategy and execution work.
  • Organizational Design: Marketing leaders continue to play a leading role in digital business transformation efforts. However, despite the effort and investment so far, marketers continue to search for the optimal structure for today’s digital world — one best suited to achieve the transformation mandate. There is still considerable variation in their vision for the ideal organization structure.

To expedite and focus your plans, Gartner marketing clients can review recommendations laid out by “Marketing Organizational Survey 2019: Marketers Aspire for Agility and Control but Fight Operational Challenges.” (Gartner subscription required.)

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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1 Comment

  • You said, “To keep pace with change, nearly 70% of marketing leaders say they rely heavily on agencies today to develop strategy and execute marketing programs — despite a preference to build more skills and capabilities in-house.”

    Given what I’ve experienced in the IT marketing sector, I just don’t see the typical in-house digital marketing talent pool filling that void in the foreseeable future. Frankly, I blame the hiring managers that continue to recruit staff that does not have the required skills or experience to be a ‘practitioner’.

    Perhaps even more troubling, their semi-skilled ‘program managers’ that outsource all the real work to agencies often don’t aspire to learn and practice the craft of marketing in the 21st century. Also, the marketing employee performance appraisal process often has no competency goals or objectives that would likely demonstrate meaningful skills progress.

    How can any CMO plan to execute your “ideal operating model” within that environment? Clearly, they have to raise the bar of expectations.