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Eight Essential Elements of Marketing Organizational Design

September 14, 2016 | By Jennifer Ross

  • Organizational design requires a systematic approach that considers the corporate growth objectives
  • Optimizing the structure of the marketing organization requires an understanding of the required competencies
  • Communication is critical throughout each phase of the organizational design process

If you’re wondering if the structure of your marketing organization is the right one, you’re in good company.  SiriusDecisions’ 2016 Global CMO Study revealed that to support their organization’s growth strategy, 86 percent of the more than 270 global b-to-b marketing leaders surveyed plan to make changes to their marketing orgs over the next two years. 

However, wanting to change, planning for change and being adequately equipped to execute change are entirely different things. Unless you belong to the rare breed of marketing leaders who actually find organizational design fun, dealing with these efforts can feel like a time-consuming, challenging and disruptive chore.

The challenges associated with organizational design can often be traced back to the approach. Many b-to-b organizations lack a thoughtful, systematic approach to organizational design decisions. In the absence of a structured, data-driven approach, the process can become cluttered with a myriad of things, including ill-defined objectives, personal agendas, internal politics and resistance to change. Avoiding these and other organizational design land mines requires a strategic approach.

The answer to the problem is the “eight Cs” of effective organizational design:

  1. Clarity. Organizational design efforts are destined to fail if the existing enterprise-wide org structure isn’t clearly understood and a clear purpose for change isn’t well defined.  Stating the trigger to explain why the redesign is necessary and specifying the imperatives and implications of the change are the foundation for the entire redesign process. The people or teams leading organizational redesign efforts must understand the added benefits and risks.
  2. Competency. How can you design the organizational structure if you don’t know what the expectations are for the marketing function? Supporting the needs of the organization requires a certain set of competencies– the required knowledge, process, skills and/or tools to optimally perform a job role. 
  3. Concept. “Form follows function” is an architectural design maxim that means the design of something should support its purpose. The same is true for organizational structure – the way in which your organization is designed determines how it will perform. Conceptualizing the organization involves an examination of the actual work and how it gets done.
  4. Capacity. Knowing what work needs to get done and how it will get done is only half the battle. The next step is to assess the current bandwidth against performance expectations and determine headcount requirements.
  5. Cost. Based on the capacity assessment, there may be associated costs to closing any gaps. Calculations of internal and external costs need to support gaps related to headcount, career development, restructuring or a combination of all three.
  6. Chart. Designing, publishing and implementing the new organization chart is where the rubber meets the road; however, showing boxes on an org chart is not enough. People need to understand the roles and responsibilities behind the boxes on the org chart, when the changes will take effect and how the new structure will change the way they are used to doing things.
  7. Calibration. The words used to define calibration include “determine,” “check” and “measure” – all of which need to be done after rolling out a new organizational design. If the effectiveness and efficiency of the redesign isn’t calculated, measured and communicated, then all the time and effort invested could be considered a waste.
  8. Communicate. The key to successful execution and adoption of organizational changes is to proactively communicate throughout the process. It’s important enough to stand on its own as one of the eight Cs, but it also spans the other seven. There are important pieces of information to communicate to different audiences at each stage of the process. Transparency is the foundation for the smooth implementation and execution of planned organizational changes. 

What does the number 8 have to do with organizational design? Simple. It symbolizes harmony and balance, the ability to make decisions, and abundance and power. SiriusDecisions’ “The 8 Cs of Effective Organizational Design” model provides our clients with a structured approach to the organizational design process that ensures decisions are made in the context of the organizational growth objectives and considers the key phases, activities and deliverables that drive effective organizational design.

If you are planning a redesign of your marketing organization, let the eight Cs be your guide. This methodical, strategic approach will help solve for many of the challenges inherent in organizational design and also enable data-driven decisions that create a balanced and harmonious marketing ecosystem and optimize performance.

Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross is the Service Director of Marketing Leadership Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Throughout her 20 years as an executive-level marketer, Jennifer has employed integrated, multi-channel inbound/outbound marketing campaigns to generate demand, increase brand identity and awareness, and drive business growth. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Jenross17.