Understand the importance of aligning your marketing organization structure, capabilities, and strategy to drive integration. You need the right marketing organizational structure to integrate.
- The information age has dramatically changed expectations of marketing teams. There are many new functions and capabilities such as search or social media marketing. And even some capabilities that traditionally were outside the marketing organization, such as data mining or technology. Horizontal integration aligns the marketing organization, capabilities, and strategy to create the infrastructure to integrate. What does this mean? It means having the right people in the right positions and setting people up for success by training them to execute the marketing strategy.
Here's how. First, define your strategy as it relates to organizational structure and capabilities. In today's fragmented marketplace, your marketing strategy likely will involve multiple touchpoints. This can feel overwhelming at first, but a well-defined customer journey map can help you identify key touchpoints and key opportunities. An example of a marketing strategy is to be customer focused. Knowing when and where your company interacts with customers helps identify the data and metrics to make the right decisions when allocating your marketing resources.
Second, understand what capabilities you need to execute your marketing strategy. There's no doubt, we live in a customer-centric environment. Customers have high expectations, so you, as a marketer, may need better trained customer service representatives, UX designers, or social media experts on the team. Do they exist today in your marketing department? How about in your company? As you build your marketing organization, you may need to hire new talent, redefine some employees' roles, or consider external agencies to fill capability gaps.
Check out my course on Hiring an External Agency to learn how. Work closely with Human Resources to write job descriptions that reflect required capabilities and ensure new hires meet those requirements. Third, create cross-functional teams with other disciplines or teams across the company. While finding new employees with capabilities that augment your current team may be necessary, it's unlikely that you'll be able to fulfill all needs of your marketing strategy within the marketing department.
Other departments, like IT, Customer Support, Sales, and HR may also play a key role in delivering your marketing objectives. Cross-functional or network teams are key to horizontal integration because they do more than just fill roles. They also help teams unite around customer and brand experience tasks. And fourth, align company and employee goals around brand experience objectives. Employees involved in networked teams should have clearly-defined success metrics tied to marketing objectives.
This ensures that the tasks assigned to these teams are prioritized properly and employees know that successful completion of those assignments will be tied to yearly goal-setting metrics. With technology so rapidly changing the way we live, it's no surprise that the way we market our products and services is changing. More and more marketing organizations are recognizing that the old way of doing things in department silos is obsolete. In fact, the majority of marketing executives say they'll need to change their organization's culture, invest in new technologies, and develop new talent and roles within the next three years.
With these four steps, you can too, by beginning to build a horizontally integrated strategy and organization.
- Thinking about integration more holistically
- Investing in integration
- Integrating vertically to align with purpose, mission, and values
- Creating a vertical framework
- Integrating horizontally
- Integrating externally across all marketing communications touchpoints
- Learning from world-class marketers
- Integrating internally across employee communications
- Creating one brand
- Leveraging and engaging employees
- Overcoming cultural and process integration obstacles