What’s the best way to scale marketing?
When marketing grows beyond one person, how do you divide up the work? This is one of the key strategic decisions the CMO makes, as the architecture of the marketing organization shapes its strengths and weaknesses. As my operations professor at MIT often said, “structure dictates behavior.”
The most common way of organizing marketing has been a hybrid of three kinds of divide-and-conquer approaches:
- by product (and overall corporate marketing)
- by tactic, such as advertising, PR, search marketing, the web site, etc.
- by region, usually large ones such as North America, Asia Pacific, etc.
Front-line marketers specialize in a particular product, tactic, and/or region — developing experience and expertise in that area. As the company grows, the size of each of these silos grows, independently of each other.
The challenges, however, are communicating and coordinating among these different groups. Any time you cross an organizational boundary, issues arise with priorities, resources, attribution, costs, metrics, etc. Sometimes these issues are small, sometimes not so small. But they’re always a drag on the organization’s speed and agility — and frequently a source of continuity problems for customers.