What is the optimal structure of the marketing organization of the future? That is the question I recently discussed with a senior director for digital analytics at a Fortune 500 company. We agreed that the eventual answer is yet to be defined and could vary somewhat between large and small organizations. Even so, one thing is clear: the landscape is shifting quickly, with digital analyst roles proliferating and becoming increasingly specialized by channel. There is enormous variation in the new marketing structures currently taking shape, particularly in large marketing organizations.
And yet, in this environment of increasing specialization — and confusion about roles — it’s simultaneously more important than ever that analytics be involved in campaign strategy from beginning to end, if the resulting data is to be useful. That poses a challenge. An analyst that specializes in social, for example, may not be able to speak to marketer’s specific questions about app downloads, or organic search. If marketers stop to seek input from every variety of channel analyst, programs may never get off the ground. And not all analysts have the desire (or interest) in sitting in lengthy marketing strategy sessions that often include clients.
We know that campaigns work most seamlessly when analysts have a clear understanding of campaign goals, and when marketers have a clear sense of the tracking tools employed and their capabilities and limitations. With marketers and analysts working toward their own priorities, and often liking it that way, it’s hard to imagine the kind of productive and necessary communication happening that will facilitate a mutual understanding. Or at least, it’s hard to imagine it happening on a consistent basis.
In the current environment, the best path seems to be for individual analysts and marketers to try to step outside their silos and gain each others’ trust. If teams can come to an understanding of the unique insight each brings to the equation, they may find a path to navigate the current maze of complexity and lack of clarity about role ownership.
According to senior analyst I spoke with, the key question that has yet to be answered about the marketing organization of the future is, where will analytics reside ultimately? Are they part of the marketing group? Are they part of the product group? Are they part of a larger information and data team that could include finance and tech? Time will tell; and we’ll find out by watching to see which versions of the developing marketing structure have long term success.