And The Oscar Goes To… Marketing?

In a recent post on his blog entitled “Marketing Organization Overhaul”, Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, cites research that the ANA did in conjunction with Booz Allen Hamilton, which defined the various roles that marketing can play. Bob writes:

Once a CMO identifies the precise role the marketing function should fulfill, he or she must then determine the maximum value that role can possibly offer.”

The roles that the study defined are excellent. In fact, I’m surprised that Bob didn’t provide a reference to the MarketingProfiler site that helps marketers determine the primary role their group plays today.

But Bob’s prescription is off the mark.

It’s overly simplistic to think that Marketing, in most of today’s firms, can afford to play a single role and simply “determine the maximum value” [whatever that means] that role can offer.

The profiles that the study defined are a great starting point for CMOs and their management teams to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of their existing organization, and to use as a framework for identifying what gaps they’d need to fill to deliver on different roles.

But it’s not as simple as declaring “We will no longer be ‘service providers’, we’re going to migrate to become ‘growth champions’.”

In reality, most Marketing departments will have to play various roles at various times — regardless of where their current strengths and weaknesses lie. And to be even more brutally realistic, few Marketing teams will have the luxury of time and money to develop new skill sets and capabilities to play all the roles they’re not playing today.

What it means:
Marketers should use the ANA’s role definitions to baseline their current capabilities and define the strategic gaps they face going forward. In the short-term, however, Marketing will have to put on a good act to fill the roles they don’t play today.

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