August 24, 2014

Marketing: Organize for Productivity

People.  Processes.  Product.


When I was a software developer, a good practice for staffing teams was to balance PPP. If your people were very familiar with the product (its technology and its user stories) you needed a lot less process. Conversely, if the people were not familiar with the product, or if there were not a lot of people, you needed more process.

The state of PPP subsequently drove the time and cost of the project. So, if you have good processes and people who know them well, you can make a better product in relatively less time.

The PPP relationship comes into play when you organize your marketing team as well. You can apply PPP when staffing a project or when reorganizing the entire department.

Lets face it, marketing is getting more responsibility without the chance (not to mention the funding) to manage the people, process and technology required to do a good job. For the people in PPP, that leads to what Gary Katz, Chair, Marketing Operations & Technology Summit recently summed up as, "a career in marketing that feels like repeat episodes of Survivor – fun and exciting at first; overwhelming and exhausting after that"

So what are our options. One thing that shouldn't be up for debate is the need for a layer of technology, data, and measurement. We've reached the point where all but the smallest marketing department NEEDS it's own IS and Program Office. Only a very small shop should bake this directly into the marketer's roles. For one you need consistency in handling data, web engagement and CRM. Same is true for measurement. You want the latter to be both comprehensive in scope and independent of marketers.

Working above the Ops layer, we have some options.

Here's where we can PPP! What type of people do you have or can you recruit? Should you organize horizontally or vertically? That depends on your people, process, products.

For example, is your product a highly technical, B2B offering that requires rocket scientists to understand the product, its uses, and the marketplace? Probably these product marketers won't have the depth, or the inclination, to also execute a campaign. You'll thus need a layer of marketing execution specialists--web, search, automation, content.  This creates a more horizontal structure where a layer of planners who don't execute work with a layer of execution specialists who do.

On the other hand, if you have a more general use product, you could build a team of marketers who work the messaging and targeting strategies and then execute the tactics to deliver.  The extreme example of this is the marketing-department-of-one at a startup.

The People and Process you need in these scenarios are different.

Note too that the slices, vertical or horizontal, can be teams as well as individuals. And within these the same rules can apply, recursively. In the example above, maybe Campaign A has Planners and Executors in a horizontal relationship. Campaign B though has several vertical people, one for social, one for search, one for events.

If you're marketing function feels a lot like Gary's Survivor mode, you may need to step back and balance your PPP!

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