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Gartner Marketing Organization and Strategy Survey: How Are Firms Building For The Future?

By Simon Yates | June 24, 2016 | 10 Comments

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With the release of two recent research notes —Marketing Organizational Design and Strategy Survey 2016: Marketing Leaders’ Ambitions Outstrip Capabilities and Designing Your Marketing Team for the Next Decade —  there’s been a healthy debate on the Gartner for Marketing Leaders research team about the need for and the impact of a rethink when it comes to organizational design. Clients want to know how to design and build a modern marketing organization that optimizes resources, achieves business goals and adapts to future needs. For many of the firms we talk to, the key issues include:

  • Coping with the ever expanding domain of responsibility. The CMO Spend survey last Fall showed that executive leader expectations for marketers continue to expand across the board from strategic (innovation and strategic planning) to tactical (converting leads to sales). Our new organizational design and strategy survey shines a specific light on the expanding role of Marketing — setting overall corporate strategy and technology decision-making.  Sixty-seven percent of marketing leaders say they play a leading or significant role in the corporate strategy setting and almost two-thirds say that the purchase of marketing technology is decided either entirely by marketing or by a marketing-led hybrid team. Success in both these areas calls for skills and experience that exist outside the marketing team today.
  • High demand skills are getting harder to recruit and retain. Every marketing organization aspires to be a data-driven,  customer-connected and revenue-generating machine so its not surprising that the most in-demand skills are marketing analytics (53%), digital commerce (48%) and social media marketing (41%).  Sadly, these in-demand skills also happen to be the hardest to hire for and retain for 48%, 37% and 35% of respondents respectively.
  • Increasing or decreasing dependency on agencies and other marketing services. If they had their way, marketing leaders would reduce their dependency on agencies but they don’t think its actually going to happen. The current marketing operating model leans heavily on agencies for strategy and execution to complement existing in-house resources and provide additional marketing capacity. A total of 52% of marketers surveyed say they work with in-house marketing teams to set strategy but look to agencies and third parties for execution. Forty-three percent expect their use of agencies to increase over the next three to five years and only 10% expect to decrease.

We would love to hear from you. What new areas of responsibility is your marketing team being asked to take on? Do you have the right people and skills in place to succeed? What’s you take on the future of your agency partner needs? Drop us a line or add the comment section below!


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  • You asked “Do you have the right people and skills in place to succeed?”

    In my experience, even if a CMO can find the savvy digital practitioner talent that they need to transform their go-to-market approach, the new people wont stay if they’re assigned to work for a legacy marketing middle manager that refuses to evolve.

    As an example, you can’t produce progressive thought leadership content assets if your middle managers view every attempt to tell the brand story through the narrow lens of a traditional ‘press release’ editing process — where everything has to be centered on the product, and the customer needs and wants are secondary.

  • Jeff Johnson says:

    Marketing used to me more of an art, and now it is becoming more of a science. I agree with the findings of this report. As Marketing becomes more data driven, embedding analytics and tools into the marketing organization are critical. But what organizations seem to be moving away from, even undervaluing, is branding, creating engaging content, and creating differentiated messaging. With an over focus on creating the next banner ad or the next clickthrough report, the quality of the content is declining.
    I call this “check mark marketing.” Project managers identify the components of a project and get those components completed – checking the completion box. But they are less interested in the quality of the message, its relevancy to the customer, or success of that message to change minds. As such, potential customers are flooded with more and more content that is uninteresting and uninspiring. But the data scientists say it achieved 300 clicks (check mark) and they high five each other that the project was completed. Less often today, they don’t consider that a more relevant and differentiated message could have generated 1000 clicks, or generated more sales engagements, or inspired the reader to learn more elsewhere with the company.

    We can’t forget quality as we crunch the data.

  • Jeff Epstein says:

    Spot on Simon, especially around the expanding required skillset for marketing leaders. From analytics to financial management, you’ve got to have chops in more than just storytelling – not to mention the ability to sell the CFO on why you need double the tech budget you had last year! #rampantmartech

  • Wendy Glavin says:

    The value of data is in the insights, not in the data. Only human expertise adds the benefits of content relevancy, data accuracy, and interpretive analysis and most importantly, the actionable insights and strategic guidance that decision-makers need.

  • Smartlinks says:

    Spot on Simon, specifically around the increasing required skillset for advertising leaders. From analytics to financial control

  • Smartlinks says:

    Thank you for giving information about future of business