Organizational Structologists

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There is no shortage of organizational structologists out there — self-professed experts on who should report to whom in today’s organizations.

The CMO Club, a network — oops, I mean social network — of chief marketing officers recently polled its members and asked them if they could add one new organizational responsibility to their role, what it would be. Here are their responses, a few quotes from respondents, and my take on it:

17% want to add customer service. One respondent said “I don’t have customer services expertise but if I had that group it would improve my team’s understanding of how our customers are dealing with our products plus allow me to train and motivate customer service to help build our relationships with our customers and our brands.”

My take: Let me get this straight. This CMO admits to not having customer service expertise but still feels that s/he should be in charge of the function? Even worse, his/her motivation for taking on the function is to “improve my team’s understanding of how customers deal with products”.

This is a terrible idea. Successful customer service departments blend a strong process discipline and orientation with personnel who can understand customers’ situations and mindsets to know when to bend the rules. There are too few marketing departments out there who have a strong process discipline, let alone process-orientation.

28% want to add sales. One respondent remarked “I had both marketing and sales in my last position and feel having both here would help with the consistency of our customer experience plus hold marketing more accountable for sales enablement.”

My take: Oh geez, not again. This guy/gal wants sales reporting to him/her not to improve the sales process and sales performance, but to “hold marketing more accountable for sales enablement”? And what the hell is “sales enablement”? Thesaurus.com tells me that enablement isn’t even a real word.

34% want to add product marketing. As one respondent put it “We are too much driven by product feature/function in our messaging and programs. I want the product marketing group so we can develop more strategic and company branding relationships vs. next new bells and whistles.”

My take: Wait a second. You mean to tell me that in at least 34% of firms, product marketing doesn’t report to the CMO? Who the hell do they report to? Which organizational structologist made that decision?

15% don’t want additional responsibilities. In the words of one CMO, “Are you kidding, I have enough issues with what’s on my plate now for driving the growth agenda for the company.”

My take: I can’t believe this CMO said that — that’s exactly what I tell my boss everyday.

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