Despite widespread and growing reorganization within their marketing ranks, highlighted by trends toward centralization and integration, only 13% of senior marketers say they're "very satisfied" with their companies' marketing structures, according to a survey released today by the Association of National Advertisers.
The study, conducted by research firm Guideline in October 2007 through a survey of 132 marketing executives, indicates reorganization has become something of a way of life at most companies, with 29% of marketers undergoing reorganization and another 39% having done so within the past two years.
Changes don't equal results
For all that restructuring, marketers aren't overwhelmed by the results. Besides the 13% who were very satisfied with their current structures, another 47% were somewhat satisfied, but 18% were neutral and 23% were either somewhat or very dissatisfied. (Numbers don't add up to 100% because of rounding.)
Remarkably, fewer than half (48%) of respondents said structural changes to marketing had actually improved their companies' marketing abilities during the past two years. Another 17% said restructuring had worsened abilities, and 36% saw no change.
The silver lining is that the bigger spenders -- the business-to-consumer marketers -- have a somewhat sunnier outlook on the effectiveness of reorganization than the business-to-business marketers. More than half (55%) of the business-to-consumer marketers said restructuring had improved marketing effectiveness; 15% felt very satisfied with their current structures, and 70% were very or somewhat satisfied.
The impact of restructuring notwithstanding, however, marketing executives of all stripes appear to believe they're getting better -- and more influential.
General performance has improved
More than half -- 61% -- said marketing's performance has improved in the past two years. And while only 21% of respondents said they interact with their companies at the C level, marketing executives' evaluation of their influence appears to be growing. The percentage who said marketing leads other functions grew three percentage points to 26% from a similar survey two years ago. And the percentage who said marketing follows or has limited interactions with other functions dropped to 8% from 19% two years ago. The rest of the respondents, in each year, said marketing participates alongside other functions.
The survey found that 49% of respondents believe marketing has become more centralized the past two years, and 52% described their companies as centralized vs. 30% decentralized and 18% as a hybrid.
Integration of disciplines within marketing is also clearly on the rise; 65% said their units are more integrated than two years ago.
"Companies are clearly moving to rein in dispersed marketing organizations and tightly integrate all the marketing disciplines," Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, said in a statement. "However, at this point, creating the optimal marketing organization is still a work in progress."
P&G, Unilever prove point
Moves in recent weeks by the world's two biggest marketing spenders -- Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever -- are among the signs that the work may never quite be complete. Both have in the past decade adopted hybrid combinations of global brand-building organizations and regional operations focused on retailers, media and other marketing roles. But both keep tweaking -- and paring -- the model too.
In the past year, P&G has moved some shopper-marketing managers and researchers, as well as Hispanic marketers, from regional or field organizations to work as part of brand teams. It also has centralized some functions, such as management of in-store marketing displays. Unilever last week said it will consolidate its global food and home and personal-care brand-development organization under a single global executive.