Gartner Survey Reveals 66% of Marketers Now Have a Centralised Marketing Organisational Structure

Gartner Survey Reveals 66% of Marketers Now Have a Centralised Marketing Organisational Structure

Marketing Leaders are Evolving their Teams Through Increased Centralisation to Build More Scalable, Flexible and Resilient Marketing Organisations

Despite years of mounting pressure within many marketing organisations between centralising or decentralising resources, a rapidly growing number of marketing leaders now prefer the centralised approach, according to Gartner, Inc. 

In fact, the Gartner Marketing Organization Survey 2020 of over 400 marketing leaders shows that nearly two-thirds of marketing teams are either fully or primarily centralised.

“Marketing leaders have long been chasing the ‘perfect’ marketing organisational structure, hoping that the right one will help them realise greater value and scale from their organisations,” said Chris Ross, vice president analyst in Gartner’s Marketing practice

“To achieve this, we are seeing a growing number of marketing organisations centralising resources into more scalable shared services to provide support for a well-defined marketing discipline.”

Resources that may have been decentralised to regions or other organisational entities are also being consolidated and centralised. 

This is consistent with findings from the CMO Spend Survey 2020 that show 79% of CMOs are no longer looking to new products and services, but rather existing markets to fuel future growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This reallocation of resources is contributing to fully centralised models where all marketing staff operate as a centralised entity or primarily centralised models where most marketing staff are centralised with limited staff distributed to regions or business units.

Gartner research also shows that marketing organisations with a marketing operations leader are more likely to have a fully centralised structure (35%) versus those without a marketing operations leader (23%).

“The organisational commitment to placing a marketing operations leader indicates a meaningful investment in the marketing operations function,” said Mr Ross. 

“Marketing operations teams frequently operate in a shared services model, creating a natural gravitational pull toward a more centralised organisational alignment.” 

“Benefits of this alignment include greater efficiency and effectiveness, improvements in marketing governance and control, and the ability to easily manage brand, messaging and customer touch strategy.”

Gartner recommends that marketing leaders looking to adopt a centralised structure take the following actions:

  • Pursue the effectiveness and scale of a more centralised organisation. Evaluate the current state of their organisation and where it falls on a centralisation continuum. If the organisation is more decentralised, identify explicitly why a decentralised structure is justified and begin work to evaluate where there are opportunities for greater centralisation.
  • Explore current organisational evolution and resource patterns that may be organically driving centralisation. This may include the creation of a shared service or centre of excellence teams that serve the organisation more broadly. Leveraging existing organisational momentum toward centralisation can ease the transition from a decentralised model.
  • Assess the marketing governance and control risks to the business based on the organisation’s current model. More decentralised models where more entities and individuals have greater autonomy can also create additional organisational risk.

The full report is available to Gartner for Marketers clients here: “Marketing Organization Survey 2020: The Evolution to Centralized, Functional and Agile Continues.”

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