Companies undertake operational reorganization for a variety of reasons. Whether to catch up with a business landscape that changed faster than forecast or perhaps to take advantage of a clearer path to regain growth potential or even to recover from a major setback, the reasons can be many. What is becoming apparent is that reorgs are happening more frequently, in line with the never-ending change to the marketplace. Unfortunately, reorganizations can come as a surprise to those of us not at the executive table.
Marketers are often the last to know. I’ve been through many reorgs with the clients I’ve worked with over the years. Once, a reorg was revealed the day before a new content marketing program was to launch, requiring some pretty fast footwork to save the time, effort and resources that had been invested in the project.
Sometimes the people I work with are affected and sometimes they manage to ride through unscathed. Sometimes the projects underway get decimated in the wake of the reorg—often without a clear reason why.
What I’ve found to be true in most of these events is that the marketers who have established and maintained executive sponsorship and involved other departments through collaboration and sharing the customers’ story seem to stand stronger.
Here are a few qualities I’ve seen demonstrated by marketers who’ve been able to keep their rhythm during a reorg:
- They can articulate the value they bring to the organization. This is usually supported by a documented content marketing strategy matched with processes that clearly correlate to an impact on business objectives.
- They can show the value of collaborative relationships with others who have survived the reorganization, most importantly sales, customer service and product marketing. The stronger the relationships and working alignment with other departments, the more likely they were to have influential champions throughout the organization because success can be shown to be co-dependent.
- Because of the two factors above, they are agile. Because they know their strategies and processes and cross-functions so well, they can immediately pivot when new approaches or business objectives are put into play. These marketers are able to shift what they’ve been doing to what they now need to do because they know how all the moving parts work together.
- They’ve also publicized their wins within the organization, being sure to give credit where credit is due while building their individual and their team’s value in terms of KPIs that run much deeper than surface metrics.
Another factor that comes into play is that the marketers whom I’ve seen be most successful during a reorg have worked to build bridges across the many silos of marketing. In other words, they’ve developed integrated programs that produce consistent results are more difficult to dismantle without business disruption.
But, in my opinion, it’s the marketers with the best ability to tell the story of the company’s customers; what they want, what problems they need to solve and why they should care about the value the organization brings that will survive with the least angst.
One of the biggest fears at the C-level is that the organization won’t be able to effectively reach and engage its customers. By being able to show how to mitigate this fear, marketers can become the ones relied upon to help make the reorganization successful.
In the latest global CXO study from IBM, only 51% of CXOs say they rely on customer feedback to inform strategic approaches. Yet finding new business models and reassessing target customer types and segments are two of the driving forces as CXOs look toward the future.
Marketers who have proven they’ve been able to understand customers and develop programs that contribute to the creation of profitable business relationships have a better chance. They are better able to demonstrate that they’re prepared to replicate those successes as the business pivots—quite often through a reorganization—to address new objectives and help build a pathway to sustainable growth.
3 Steps to Sustainable Rhythm for Content Marketers
- Up-level your skillsets. Learn how to develop active personas that inform content strategies and distribution plans. Learn how to prove contribution to downstream revenues using terms the executive team cares about and respects. If the customer is the driving force of business, then a marketer should have honed tools in her arsenal that can help her engage with and build lucrative relationships with them.
- Document your content marketing strategy and processes. Make sure you also understand the technology used to support them. The fastest growing thing in marketing is the technology stack. From content workflow and collaboration platforms to marketing automation and predictive analytics, you need to understand how the technology works and what impact it can bring to your strategy and processes—not to mention outcomes.
- Be able to articulate your customers’ story better than anyone else. And be able to do so in a way that earns the appreciation and respect of the executive team—before a whisper of reorg is in the air.
Reorgs will continue to happen because they’re how organizations respond to sweeping change which is not likely to ebb anytime soon. Marketers who strive to bring value to their organizations that the executive team recognizes and cares about have a grand opportunity to ride through a reorg and come out better on the other side.