The disruption of the Marketing team structure in the Digital Age

by | Jun 26, 2017 | Personal Insights, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Team Transformation

The Dawn of the Digital Age

The traditional marketing team structure is under siege by new technologies. In the dawn of the Digital Age, many marketers now realize that their organizations need an overhaul. However, many are struggling to devise a new world order. This is not surprizing – with so many blockades within the traditional marketing team structure, seamlessly connecting these silos is difficult. The dawn of the Digital Age recognizes that digital marketing, data analysis, new technology platforms and other aspects of marketing can no longer be contained in silos but must be disseminated across the organization

 

“The defining challenge for marketing in the 21st century is structural” – Forbes Magazine

To illustrate the above points with a visual, have a look at these graphs which show the difference between a typical traditional marketing team structure versus a possible future marketing team structure:

disruption of the digital age on the traditional Marketing team structure

Graph showing a traditional marketing team structure, in which the structure arguably promotes a company-centric philosophy rather than a consumer-centric philosophy.

Graph showing the transformation of a marketing team structure in the Digital Age. Notice the central importance of consumer insights, UX (User Experience), design and content. Their centrality in this new structure indicates the shift to a more consumer-centric philosophy in the Digital Age.

 

 

The Digital Age demands a change of skill-sets

As industries pivot around the behavior of an erratic social media generation, marketing leadership will demand diverse, adapted skill-sets more than ever before. It’s not enough to commit yourself to either the ‘creative visionary’ or the ‘analytics nerd’ profile. To survive as a decision-maker you need to be both. Marketing teams need to be led by management that can show shrewdness in digital, social media as well as business strategy

According to Forrester, at least 30% of CEOs will fire their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set they need to pull off digital business transformation [Forrester, ‘Predictions 2017: The Post-Digital CMO Appears’, October, 2016]. This need will trickle down into marketing teams too. 64% of marketing decision-makers are urgently prioritizing recruiting and developing better talent, according to that same Forrester report. We are seeing a skill-set deficit as marketing leaders try to nurture their existing talent. This is not enough. What is required is a complete overhaul of the existing teams to adapt to the social media generation which undoubtedly has changed consumer behaviour for good. Leaders who create the opportunity for teams to adapt and grow will succeed.

 

A consumer-centric approach is vital to transformation

Given that the connected consumer is bombarded with choice and speed, an outside-in approach is required. Traditionally marketing (generally) viewed the world inside out but now connectivity has driven the requirement for an outside-in approach instead.

Consumer behaviours have changed dramatically within a short period of time and one of the biggest challenges is not only keeping up with these new behaviours but aligning your organization accordingly. This idea is expressed in the following statement:

“It’s not customer-centric to see your organization structured around your products and services and then have marketing engage with your customers solely on that basis.” – Darren Woolley, founder of TrinityP3.

New possibilities and new rules have led to major disruption in this connected consumer world. The new empowered consumer is:

  • mobile – their smart phone is always by their side
  • in control – there is so much choice available and they decide
  • critical – given the choices available, the consumer has become more critical than ever before
  • smart – it’s interesting to see how consumers now trust online and personal reviews – think of how we review TripAdvisor when searching for our next vacation

The connected consumer has new expectations and is now suitably empowered throughout the digital process. Understanding the implications of the new connected consumer is paramount. The bottom line is that adapting to these new rules is key for survival.

 

How do you change a marketing team structure at a rapid pace?

We recommend a simple approach centered around the following:

  • Review the team structure and break the traditional silos. Typically, we would have had a marketing team structure encompassing for example: marketing strategy, media, advertising, product marketing, market research, promotion and in some instances a creative services team. These traditional roles are no longer relevant in their current form in the digital world. The benefits of digital reinvention for a business are discussed in our article, Why business model reinvention is necessary.
  • Review your talent mix. You might be surprised at what skills you have existing within your team. We have found that existing employees are more than willing to apply their new found digital skills acquired but the traditional functions have somewhat constricted their ability to apply these. A full marketing team transformation should allow seamless integration of skill-sets and encourage cross-communication as well as seamless execution.
  • Lead the charge with cross-functional alignment across the organization. Integrate marketing, IT, sales and customer service. The connected consumer is becoming increasingly annoyed when contacting one traditional silo and this silo has no view of what another silo has done or committed to. Integrated systems have become more important now more than ever before.

 

The Marketing team structure of the future

In conclusion, the new marketing team structure looks very different to what traditional marketing teams organizational charts looked like. Roles and responsibilities are being adapted and the bridging of skills gaps is now a reality. But as you meander down this road (our advice is at pace), and attempt to transform your marketing team structure, the old saying of ‘how long is a piece of string?’ applies. Just as it is impossible to guess the length of any singular string, it is impossible to predict the requirements for your business transformation without accounting for various factors. Depending on your industry, size of the organization, maturity on the life cycle curve; many factors influence the resultant new digital marketing structure. Let us discuss your current structure, business goals, digital maturity and expectations and offer some advice on how to bridge the digital marketing organizational structure quickly.

If you enjoyed this article, why not have a look at other similar articles in our blog?

 

Infinipod Team Digital Marketing Mikayla Humphries Portrait

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