Boldly Forward to a New Org (Not a Re-org)

We are having and hearing a lot of similar discussions as we enter the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

In talking to CMOs about insourcing, we are increasingly hearing about the need for not only a reorg but a new org. There is a clear feeling that internal structures, processes, templates, approaches and skills are holding marketing functions back as they focus on customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) to both grow the business and retain talent.

Existing structures, operating models, processes and siloes are causing fractures in how CX and/or EX shows up. Things that are currently patched over are causing stress for teams internally and externally for less-than-stellar experiences overall.

More than ever, we are hearing variants of “our success is limited by our structure.” In fact, a 2018 World Federation of Advertisers report reveals that “almost 70% of clients recognize that their own internal structures may be an encumbrance to operating the most effective model.”

This is a bigger issue than just building an in-house agency which in itself can imply replicating an external structure internally. The question we are hearing from CMOs and their teams is a bigger one around the role of marketing beyond comms into growth, go-to-market, accountability for sales, and value of the brand. This trickles down to discussions around broader capability building versus simply what’s insourced.

Questions we work with customers on turn into things like “What KPIs I am accountable for to the CEO” and “How do I structure marketing to deliver on a CX roadmap”—and even “What should our CX roadmap be” as opposed to “What can we bring in house to save cost and impact quality?”

We start by sharing different organizational models with customers and asking them “What do you want to be next?” In many ways, we’re seeing a return to the original view of a broader marketing vision behind Kotler’s 4P's of Price, Place, Product, and Promotion—one that has been fragmented beyond recognition with the proliferation of technologies and channels at our disposal since the 1990s.

Those technologies and channels are still important, though organizations have lost the vision and glue that holds them together with operating systems that are rooted in the past as they try delivering on CX and EX expectations for today.

A transformative new team and organization doesn’t start by drawing organizational charts; it starts with defining the problem, diverse ideas around a table, and the world’s best thinkers working in sprints to design against that vision.

Stage 1: Reframe

• Think: If anything is possible, what would we do?
• What do our future outcomes look like? (not internal orgs or incremental changes)
• Where do we want to be? If we started with a blank sheet, how would we get there?
• What can we learn from competitors but also wider frames of reference like sports teams or high-performing organizations?

Stage 2: Reimagine

• What do we need to build to realize our reframed vision?
• What can we repurpose and evolve in terms of structure, skills, capabilities, incentives and processes to build it?

Stage 3: Realize

• Consider a SWOT analysis. What are all the holes I could punch in this? How do we make it better or demand that we change things? Do we need to return to the Reimagine stage?
• The Realize stage is not a teardown. It’s time to see what’s missing and what areas could be a non-starter with other stakeholders.
• Pragmatically, how do you build a roadmap to a solution that’s not compromised by legacy speeds?

If we acknowledge that we are at a stage where we have papered over a lot, that our structure is NOT driving our success but that it can, then maybe we can shift to saying, “our structure drives our success.”

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