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by Evan Neufeld

Never have so many talked so much about a topic so little quantified as the marketing organization of the future. There are many airy proclamations of big, vague changes lying ahead as marketing organizations evolve to deal with developing trends such as the increase of programmatic buying, the growth of native advertising, and the rise of consumer adoption of mobile devices and content.

But to date, few actual details have emerged of how (or even if, for that matter) brands are actually evolving the focus and structure of their marketing organizations in the face of these trends. Until now. In our recent whitepaper, Building the Marketing Organization of the Future we surveyed over 240 brand marketers about the current structure and focus of their respective marketing organizations as well as their sense of what the future holds.

Overall we found, despite prognostications of doom and gloom, a robust, positive outlook among respondents, with the majority of marketing organizations we surveyed seemingly well-placed to adapt to the evolving demands put on them by the enterprise.

If you could pick one word to describe the Marketing Organization of TODAY, what would it be? We asked our respondents that exact question, and what came back was a vocabulary that was, by and large, extremely positive. While there are obviously big changes afoot, many organizations appear to be in their element, emphasizing the important of agile evolution as a core of what marketing organization must do. Issues obviously abound, but shrink relative to they key trends of evolution and nimble response to such change.

As mentioned, challenges do abound. Nearly half (42%) of marketers work for an organization “in flux,” presenting a classic glass half-full or half-empty dilemma: although it is encouraging that such a large percentage of organizations are trying to evolve their focus to be more effective, it is less encouraging that so many organizations are still in the midst of this process.
More challenging still, only 1 in 9 brands view themselves as innovative, and only 1 in 4 can claim to have a role in driving the overall strategic direction of their company. Lastly, many brands feel that creating successful cross-functional teams is the best organizational paradigm for today’s brands, but this paradigm is difficult to implement effectively.

Despite these challenges, Marketers seem extremely positive about the future: When asked to pick a word or phrase to describe the marketing organization of tomorrow, our respondents predicted an organization that is vibrant and highly adaptive. Some of the frequent responses were “dynamic,” “choosing,” “nimble,” “fluid,” and “innovative”

This positivity is driven not only by how far marketing organization have come in the past several years, but also from a resounding sense of what their mission is in the future: By a wide majority, our respondents viewed consumer (85%) and data centricity (66%) and “digital first” (57%) as the defining characteristics of a great marketing organization of the type they plan to build in 2017 and beyond.

Today

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Tomorrow

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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