I spend a lot of time talking with marketers across the world and throughout dozens of different industries.  Some are 20 year veterans while others are relatively new to the profession.  Whether you are on either end of the spectrum or somewhere in the middle, the conversations bear some similarities: marketing owns a lot more of the sales cycle than ever before.

There’s no exact moment this came to be.  In the past marketing was typically responsible for growing audience awareness.  As cliche as it sounds, imagine a Coca-Cola logo painted on the side of a brick building.  Fast forward to today, marketing is now responsible for the end-to-end customer experience.  This includes building awareness and interest through to customer service and renewals (or repeat purchases) with a modest side of technology to stitch the journey together.  

The evolution into full customer experience ownership places, at minimum, a level of revenue accountability on marketing.  As a result the need for marketing to totally align itself with sales has never been more important. To that end, I consider sales and marketing alignment the ultimate exercise in teamwork.  The coordination between departments depicted below shows an organization prioritizing the needs of the prospect at each unique stage of their journey.  The diagram shows both departments interchanging roles at various stages in order to facilitate the best possible experience for your prospect.  Your organization and its journey might look different, and that’s OK.  The point is to ask yourself: what is the priority for each stage and who between sales and marketing should manage or own that stage?

diagram of S+M

The Modern Marketer

If the role of marketing has changed, what does that mean for marketers?  The short answer: it means marketers need to evolve too.  The longer answer: marketers need to be tapped into all aspects of an organization.  Marketers can no longer afford to be concerned only with event menu appetizers and branded pens. (Editor’s note: those who know Kevin well might have heard his #NoAppetizers speech in the past.)  

Today’s modern marketer today is the swiss army knife within an organization. S/He is strategic, data-driven, revenue accountable, and tech savvy.  In short the expectations of marketers are (now) a lot higher.  For the record, marketers, that’s a great thing.  Now that we’ve established the role of marketing today and the skill set required, let’s look at what goes into building a great department.

Structuring a Modern Marketing Department

As a partner to sales and a revenue engine for an organization, marketing needs to organize itself in the most efficient way possible.  Every organization will have variables at play including  targets/quotas, resources, budgets, technology, talent, and more.  Unfortunately for some marketers, some of your peers will have better, stronger options available to them.  They’ll be able to move faster and possibly make less mistakes in the process.  Regardless, I think there are four key questions every marketing leader needs to ask themselves when developing a marketing team and program to support revenue growth:

  1. What internal resources/roles do you have today (or will be hiring soon)?
  2. What skill sets and specializations exist within these resources?
  3. What are the top 3 marketing capability gaps that exist in your team today?
  4. What is the most critical knowledge you need to build and retain internally?

Answers to these questions will shine a light on where focus and resources need to be.  In addition, these questions will help identify if existing resources meet your needs to properly go to market.  Two additional considerations stand out:

  • You must balance learning new skills with speed and results
  • You can’t do every marketing task right away, so prioritize the ones most critical to achieving you mandates

Please join us next week to read the second part of this series.  We’ll tackle approaches to lead generation and how a modern marketing department can scale its marketing program to meet its goals.  If your organization is looking for marketing strategy or augmenting marketing team bandwidth don’t hesitate to contact us today.