5 Mistakes to Avoid When Reorganizing a Marketing Team

by Sat Duggal

It’s often necessary to reorganize the Marketing department in order to maintain productivity, increase efficiencies, and generally stay on top of an ever-evolving discipline. But there’s a right and a wrong way to go about it, and we’ve seen a number of mistakes made as we’ve studied this process.

Below are the five most common mistakes organizations make in the process of reorganizing their Marketing departments, and some thoughts on how to avoid making them in your own company.

1. A Poor Definition of What Success Looks Like

Logically, you can’t tell that your journey is over if you don’t know where you’re going in the first place.

Many companies jump into the marketing reorganization process without determining ahead of time exactly what they want to see when they’re done and how they will measure it. For instance, what marketing outcomes do we hope to improve and by how much? What specific productivity gains do we intend to achieve? How will the re-organized marketing function measurably improve support for business strategies and priorities?

All of these questions and more should be considered and defined before the process begins so that everyone is headed to the same destination, by the same route, and at the same speed.

2. Structure Before Strategy

Another common issue stems from having a predetermined structure in mind and then shoehorning the reorganization plan to fit that structure.

For any reorganizing plan to be effective, it must first be based on a crystal-clear understanding of the business strategy and the role that marketing has to play in fulfilling that strategy. The structure design would be a means to fulfill that strategy.

If you put the cart before the horse in this area, the result will be friction: an inability to mobilize resources properly, and ineffective execution of the strategy leading to lost competitive advantage.

3. Ad-hoc Design Process

While seemingly harmless, this is a mistake that we see very often and one that causes significant issues. Many marketing department re-orgs are done very casually. A few leaders organize a meeting, get in front of a white-board and draw their pre-conceived notion of an effective marketing organization.

The process to redesign an organization is not rocket science. It is a common-sense, structured process that usually yields good and predictable results when followed with discipline. The issue is that very often the design process is impromptu.

4. Using Structure to Solve Everything

Even the most carefully conceived structure won’t be able to solve every issue that presents itself. In fact, trying to solve everything through a formal structure will only make the structure complex and confusing.

Many issues like poor information flow or conflicting strategies can be solved through process and coordinating mechanisms. Without these strategically in place, the best structure will still face gridlock and wasted time.

5. Poor Communication Process

Another issue that often plagues organization (re)design initiatives is poor communication within the organization. Most re-organizations are shrouded in secrecy and “announcements” are often confused as communication plans.

Reorganizations can involve significant change management challenges. At best, it takes employees some time to understand and accept the change. Often times, reorganizations cause anxiety and confusion that rsults in lack of productivity and motivation. Not understanding and appreciating this change management challenge, and not providing a communication program to address it, is one of the most common mistakes made when reorganizing marketing departments.

In all these cases, the key to avoiding these common mistakes and executing an effective reorganization of the Marketing department lies in approaching the process strategically and with a complete picture of both the technical and human aspects of the transition.

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Keywords: Custom Marketing Framework, Market and Data Analysis