In this video, I describe my view that marketing departmental structures in professional service firms can be categorized along a continuum.
On one end of the structural continuum is the never-changing, very hierarchical organizational model. In this framework, marketers are stove-piped into narrow functional responsibilities. They become stuck in roles that don’t afford new opportunities for learning or avenues for leadership advancement. These marketers will have to leave their firms in order to grow. The professional service firm using this model risks the possibility of falling behind more nimble competitors.
On the other end of the continuum is the highly fluid, shared leadership model. Here, marketers change roles every few years, as leaders pursue the potential benefits of collaboration and decentralization. Also in this model, marketers are typically reassigned to new reporting relationships as the firm selects new leaders. These reorganizations can feel to marketers like unnecessary churn. In these cases, professional service firms also risk taking their eye off the marketplace.
A better model is the one in the middle. Give marketers several years to gain a solid competency in a well-framed area of expertise. Marketers, staring from their base of knowledge, can be asked to shadow other functional areas to capture insights and build creative new solutions. The firm might also offer outside professional development avenues where marketers can gain new skills through exposure to other professional firms’ -- and other sectors’ -- best practices. @SmithSchool.
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