During the run up to the recession of 2008 marketing departments had already begun the transition of moving a greater percentage of their project activity in-house.
It seemed to make sense at the time. The technology barriers were being eliminated as creative software became increasingly easier to use. For less than $1000 a marketing department could outfit themselves with some basic creative resources.
Plus, it allowed some cost savings by doing things inside, versus employing the work of an outside marketing agency. With the web growing in importance, having someone in-house that could make updates and changes on the fly was a huge advantage.
Around the same time, social media as a marketing strategy appeared on the radar. Now the marketer added a new channel of activity requiring a completely different skill set from the sales promotion and brand management activities historically built into the department.
Today we see many marketing departments comprised of a diverse staff of professionals that range from creative directors to copywriters, marketing specialists and in-house designers.
In fact, the marketing department in many companies today looks more like a creative agency than a strategic marketing department. Whether out of necessity or by design, the DIY model has been taken to heart. The result is growth of an increased amount of activity that may not be strategic in nature.
According to a article in Forbes reporting on the results of a Wharton School study, the new/future marketing department should be created to deliver a more balanced approach to the needs of the business. The goal is to ensure that strategy, experience, and execution is aligned towards growth.
It’s all about balancing the priorities and opportunities against the limited resources and budgets we all face.
According to Wharton’s study, several primary pillars can support the marketing department’s approach to managing and creating opportunity for growth. Envision the creation of a department that is built on these primary principles of service to the marketplace and organization:
“Think” (analytics marketers)
This is the team that drives the research and insight from which to make better marketing decisions. Internal analytics, external research, consumer surveys and other data-driven tools will fall into this group.
“Feel” (engagement marketers)
This would include the inbound/outbound marketing communication. Sales promotion and advertisement activities would fall into these areas.
“Do” (production/content marketers).
This team will manage the actual creation of the marketing materials and content creation using inside and outside resources.
To the three above I would add a fourth, called Create.
The “Create” team will be responsible for new product development, product enhancements, and general innovation planning and development.
With budgeting in process for most companies, now is the time to take a good look at your marketing department to ensure it is aligned in a manner that creates your highest likelihood for success.
Whether you are managing things inside or outside, the important thing is that you are producing all of the above in the right balance. Today’s successful marketer is balancing the strategy and execution effectively to ensure their company’s viability.
No matter what you call your “pillars”, delivering the right support and efforts against the major business priorities at the right time is what really matters.