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Marketing Organization

Many companies are beginning to realize that they are not really marketing- and customer-driven, but are product- or sales-driven. It is not easy to manage the evolution towards a healthy marketing-driven organization. It certainly won’t happen as a result of a CEO making speeches and urging every employee to “think customer.” This requires tangible changes within your organization, through job and department definitions, responsibilities, incentives and relationships.

Effective and healthy marketing organizations are marked by a strong cooperation and customer focus among the various departments. In principle, all the functions of your organization should interact harmoniously to pursue its overall objectives. In reality, however, interdepartmental relations are often characterized by deep rivalries and distrust. Some interdepartmental conflict stems from differences of opinion as to what is in the organization’s best interest, some from real trade-offs between departmental well being and company well being, and some from unfortunate departmental stereotypes and prejudices.

Marketing must drive the point that all departments need to ‘think customer’ and work together to satisfy customer needs and expectations. It is marketing’s role in a marketing-centric organization to both 1) coordinate the organization’s internal marketing activities and to 2) coordinate marketing with finance, operations, IS, HR and other internal functions to better serve the customer.

There is very little agreement on how much influence and authority marketing should have over other departments to bring about integrated and coordinated marketing. Typically a CMO or Marketing VP works through persuasion rather than authority. Other departments often will resist bending their efforts to meet the customers’ interests. And just as marketing stresses its point of view, other departments stress the importance of their tasks. As a result, conflicts of interest are unavoidable and can be an obstacle to evolving towards a healthy marketing organization. A marketing audit helps to identify healthy attributes and potential unhealthy symptoms of your organization.

The top five major attributes of a healthy marketing organization include:

  • A customer philosophy
  • An integrated marketing organization
  • Adequate marketing information
  • Strategic orientation
  • Operational efficiency

Do you know to what stage your organization has evolved? How healthy is your marketing? Take the online marketing health test to give you an idea of your marketing health.