HomeBlog Making Sense of Marketing Organizational Models: A Preview

Making Sense of Marketing Organizational Models: A Preview

April 29, 2016 | By Jennifer Baker

  • Most marketing organizational models in use today have little to do with what is best for the business
  • There are four typical model types, with the CMO model being the most effective
  • CMOs need to take an evidence-based approach to determining which model is right for their organization

Albert Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

The beauty of opposites is top of mind at SiriusDecisions, as art and science is the theme at this year’s Summit. When these two concepts are leveraged together in the right way – whether through balancing creative customer experience with new marketing technologies in the b-to-b industry or through innovative gastronomy – they reinforce each other’s strengths, yielding beautiful results.

Then you have the “square peg in a round hole” issue, which is not exactly a vision of beauty. However, for a CMO working within the confines of a misaligned marketing organizational model, these issues can hold some mystery – and inspire some thought-provoking questions: “How did we get here?” “If we were able to make changes to the organizational model, what changes would we make?” “If we don’t have the power to change it, what things can we control?”

Marketing Meeting

In my upcoming Summit track session, “Making Sense of Marketing Organizational Models,” analyst Jay Gaines and I will discuss some answers to those questions, based on the following evidence we’ve gathered from working with b-to-b clients:

  • The marketing organizational model being used often has little or nothing to do with what is optimal for the business. How marketing is organized often is based on internal politics and power centers instead of evidence-based criteria. Marketing is seen as a sales support function, with the C-suite falling back on legacy structures and excuses (e.g. “It’s how we’ve always been organized”).
  • High-performing marketing organizations share common characteristics. These audience-centric organizations are able to balance resources, minimize redundancies, align to business objectives and drive strong go-to-market campaigns, just to start. 
  • Although we see variations, there are four typical marketing organizational models into which most b-to-b organizations fall. Each model has advantages and disadvantages, and all have a direct impact on performance and efficiency.
    1. CMO model. All (or the vast majority of) global marketing resources ultimately report to one leader. While this model could lead to slight marketing myopia, this is by far the most efficient of the four, resulting in balanced resources, a more cohesive organization, and continuous improvement through playbooks and skills development.  
    2. Business unit (BU) model. The majority of marketing resources report to BU leaders, leading to improved focus and effectiveness in differentiated units and the agility to address specific regulatory issues. The downsides include redundancies across the units and a lack of integration when it comes to campaigns and effective corporate collaboration.
    3. Matrix model. Marketing is managed through a network of BUs, regional and central marketing, and other functions. While this model supports the focus on regulatory issues, there are no other advantages. This model not only allows a lack of process and measurement across the organization; it practically inspires it, making this one of the least efficient models.
    4. Regional model. All regional and local marketing resources report to regional sales leaders, which lets the marketing organization focus on alignment and agility in new geographies. However, marketing tends to default to a sales support function in this model, among other disadvantages.

Getting that “square peg in a round hole” feeling? Don’t know how to determine which marketing model is ideal for your organization? Then join us at Summit, where a new marketing model decision framework will be unveiled! Can’t change what you’ve got? We’ll offer solutions for that, too.

Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker is a research analyst, CMO and Marketing Executive Services at SiriusDecisions. She has 15 years of experience in strategic marketing, demand generation, branding, team leadership, change management, and sales support for various organizations in the market research, software and media industries. 

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