Internal stakeholders can make or break a Marketing organization’s ability to gather, analyze and synthesize key insights to make thorough yet rapid decisions and act quickly before windows of opportunity close. Alignment between Marketing and other internal stakeholders is clearly tightly linked to marketing agility. So who are Marketing;s stakeholders and why are they important?
Customers see a brand as one entity, not a series of disjointed departments, so collaboration among Marketing’s stakeholders is essential for great customer experience. Marketing is naturally positioned as a hub, or conduit, from the marketplace into the enterprise. Yet historically, most of Marketing’s efforts are outward-directed, without embracing the opportunity to influence internal organizations. What does it take to align Marketing with key stakeholders enterprise-wide?
In the first of a three-part series on Marketing’s cross-organizational alignment, we look at the enterprise functions important to Marketing and drivers for alignment:
Which Organizations are Important to Marketing?
The internal organizations important to Marketing span the range of marketing stakeholders: Sales, Finance, IT, Customer Service, HR, Product Management, Legal and Quality Management. Particularly crucial among these is the partnership between Sales and Marketing in customer acquisition and growth, with Marketing carrying a clear responsibility to help the organization meet revenue goals. This is not to overshadow the importance of the relationship with Customer Services in retention and loyalty, where service workloads and customer expectations are impacted by Marketing’s brand promises.
Turning to content marketing, a key element of modern marketing execution, Product Management is the natural source of material for articles, white papers, blog posts and so on. With Marketing needing to be accountable for the investments it makes, the Finance function is a key partner in developing and approving budgets. It hardly needs saying, of course, that IT is crucial, providing the tools to run Marketing, through automation, integration, data management and more.
Lastly but by no means least comes HR. Making the right hiring decisions, determining the appropriate skills to develop and knowing how to incentivize staff is of upmost importance to the success of Marketing in the long-term.
Overall, it is perhaps better to ask which functions across the organization are not important to Marketing. In reality, every functional area in the company can be integral to Marketing’s success, helping the brand promise to be delivered. Successful businesses are highly interconnected, presenting the opportunity for Marketing to play a linking agent role across the entire enterprise.
What Motivates Marketing to Align Cross-Organizationally?
Traditionally, Marketing has adopted an outward looking orientation, seeking — rightly — to attain a customer and market centric viewpoint. This strength, though, sometimes leads to a failure to recognize the synergies that exist within the organization. As such, there is a need to mobilize effort to achieve common objectives – silos kill, after all. Marketing should take the initiative for identifying these synergies, acting as the operational driver and lever for change.
Marketing needs to bring about this alignment in support of its own program execution, keeping everyone in the company on the same page and helping to achieve success with finding, keeping and growing customers and profits. In other words, stay nimble and ensure goals are met. Marketing Operations is a critical enabler to make this happen.