What Marketing Org Charts Tell You About The Business

August 10, 2014

Organizational charts are an interesting thing. Every company has an official one and also a few “unofficial” charts. Look at how people are structured and what the reporting structure looks like and it will tell how the company is run, what is important to them, and how they think about their product and services and the market in general.

Although it seems that for certain departments the org chart doesn’t vary much (take finance, sales, even engineering), for Marketing departments the org chart can be all over the place. Marketing is probably an area that changes more frequently based on the stage the company is in than any other, at least from what I have seen. A small startup will have a head marketing person with a few helpers below, but as it grows more people are added to handle the other facets of promoting the business. 

A marketing org chart can give you clues about how a company goes to market. How quickly they can react and if they are product-centric or sales-oriented. 

Organizational Chart

Sending a Message Through the Marketing Org Chart

Some companies change the marketing organization or rename functions as a way to signal the market and employees of a new strategic direction. Take for example P&G who recently announced that marketing directors and associate marketing directors are now called brand directors and associate brand directors. This is supposedly to emphasize the role of creativity and to inspire bolder, better ideas into their marketing.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review magazine argues that the marketing function hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years and makes the case for marketing reorganization.

“In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition …. Yet in most companies the organization structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago.” – HBR

It makes sense as brands evolve, technology now permeates every aspect of marketing, and consumers have taken control of the buying process. At least that’s the excuse for Electrolux to have restructured its marketing team and have moved marketers from the corporate HQ into consumer teams focused on fully understanding the consumer experience and sharing the knowledge among various groups so that the whole organization is aligned to better serve the consumer.

Sometimes the reasons are related to inefficient and costly marketing structures that have grown so big that they become an impediment to successfully conducting business and start damaging the brand. Behemoths such as HP changed from a decentralized marketing to a centralized marketing organization in order to save money and respond faster to market demands.

“Ensuring we have the right organizational structure in place is a critical first step in driving improved execution, and increasing effectiveness and efficiency” – Meg Whitman, HP.

A while ago Microsoft went through a big marketing reorganization as well because, as then-CEO Steve Ballmer said, the company wasn’t getting enough ROM (return on marketing spend). 

The Right Marketing Structure

The question of how to best structure your marketing department shouldn’t be the thing that keeps you up at night. The needs of a company change depending on where it is in its life cycle, how much money it has to allocate to marketing, and how critical the marketing role is seen for the success of the company.

According to a Forbes article titled “The Central Question for CMOs“, the debate of centralized vs decentralized is mute. 

But let’s say you do want to put in place a marketing org chart that makes sense and resists the test of time, even if it’s just for 12 months. Well, there isn’t a better starting place than the SlideShare presentation put together by HubSpot on this very subject. The CMO’s Guide to Marketing Org Structures shows how seven different companies have structure their marketing departments and why they have chosen to do it this way, at least for now.

So while there isn’t such thing as the “right marketing org structure” or the “best way to organize the marketing department”, the presentation is a good starting point to have a discussion at your company about the role of marketing and what the department should look like 12 months or 2 years ahead.


Best Practices for Webinar Landing Pages

January 27, 2014

Webinars are a great way to generate leads in the B2B world because not only of the fact that you will have a captive audience for the duration of most of the presentation, it also yields a ton of content possibilities. But what good is all the work in putting together a nice webinar if your registration rates suck? The problem could be with your webinar registration or landing page.

It might sound trivial, after all webinars are routine for many B2B marketing organizations, but if you take a look at most webinar registration pages, some of them lack good design and basic optimization techniques.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

HubSpot:

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For all the good content that HubSpot puts out there, the registration page for their webinars is quite bad. The copy is short, which is what you should aim for, but take a look at the registration form itself. It’s like they decided to embed an iframe of some sort and didn’t bother making it work… it just goes on and on forever. And it asks a lot of questions people may not be willing to disclose at the moment of signing up for a webinar.

Then, the webinar details like duration and presenters are all the way to the bottom. And, if you look closely, you can’t even find the date and time of the webinar. My suggestion is for you to not do it this way.

webinar registration from marketo

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Marketo:
Here’s a nice designed webinar page. Most of Marketo’s webinars follow the same design style with the webinar title at the top, the date and time clearly stated upfront (time is in both PT and ET), a short copy with three bullet points and simple registration form on the right asking just the basics. At the bottom, they show a headshot of presenters with just their title.

SAP:

SAP Webinar

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This is an interesting example of a “webinar series” done badly. The landing page shows a ton of copy, a plethora of options and unless you take the time to carefully read everything you probabaly give up before signing up. Not to mention the registration form asks for way more than you should.

Splunk:

Splunk

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Splunk is using Webex’s webinar registration template, so there’s not much they can do here but it is not bad. Although not very well desgined, it does have good points such as using short copy that is direct and to the point with three bullets. Lists the speakers below and asks for just the basic info for registration.

Rackspace:

rackspace webinar

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This is an example of a bad webinar registration page that has a tremendous amount of copy, each speaker bio is like a book which makes it look like a long list on the right way past the registration form. The good thing here is that the form is pretty simple, so if the email invitation was enticing and you don’t care too much about the landing page, you can just register and get done with it.

GigaOm:

GigaOm Webinar

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This sample webinar page from GigaOm is nicely designed making good use of space, and not trying to do too much. I like that the title of the webinar is big and the first thing on the top and the time and date are right below it, but it would have been better if they had shown the time in EST as well. The speakers are prominently displayed without using too much space and they did a good job with breaking apart sections like “what will be discussed” and “who should attend” which can help entice people to register.

If I were to fix a few things, I would focus first on the weird spacing on the bullets that is pushing everything down and making it look taller than needed.

Takeaways

There is a ton of other examples out there you can check out and look at your company’s own webinar registration pages. Here are what I consider to be best practices. But don’t take my word for it, I encourage you to make your own tweaks and test. Come up with your own set of rules for your webinar landing pages based on what converts the most.

1. Make sure the title of the webinar is prominently displayed on top. You want people to recognize the landing page whether coming from an email clickthru, a social media link or a Skype IM.

2. The date and time should be clearly displayed and preferably with East Coast / West Coast time zones if a US based webinar or other relevant time zones based on your audience.

3. Short copy with bullets to quickly indicate what the webinar is about and why should potential attendees register. If you are trying to explain too much, you are doing it wrong.

4. Speaker names, titles and short bios. Bonus points for adding a headshot.

5. Short registration form, asking only the very minimum. The more you ask, the less likely you will get quality data and it will also decrease registrations.

6. Simple and clean design to emphasize the key aspects of the webinar will help conversions. Don’t overdue it, though.

7. Registration button clearly placed next to the form (typically at the bottom).

8. Makes sure your company logo doesn’t dominate the registration page. You are not selling the company, you are selling the webinar content.

9. Sharing icons for twitter, facebook and linkedin can help people spread the word and share with their network, increasing registration rates. For bonus points, add a ‘suggested tweet’ with hashtags and all for them to promote with just one click.


A Brief History of Marketing

February 25, 2013

I was made aware of the new infographic “The Evolution of Marketing Automation” by Jaclyn from BlueGlass, the company that worked on it for Marketo. It provides you an interesting look back through time showing some key moments in marketing history and, of course, it ends with the advent of marketing automation.

Although interesting, I am not sure the infographic format is the best way to visualize this information. First, there is a lot of text, a lot of data, and you have to scroll through infinity to reach the end. My recommendation would be for them to transform this into a nice SlideShare presentation.

Also, the infographic seems to focus more on the evolution of marketing channels rather than the evolution of marketing automation per se. It completely ignores the rise of Fax machines, for example, which were used for B2B outbound marketing until email came along (and also until the Junk Fax Prevention Act was passed in 2005). Other important marketing channels like direct mail, and the once-popular online banner ads of the 90’s are strangely not mentioned.

So for someone who is publishing content with the title of evolution of marketing automation, they are surely missing out on a LOT of stuff that happened before in marketing history. Sure, I get it that they want to focus on the ‘old’ broadcast systems to contrast with the ‘new’ marketing tools (email, social media, marketing automation), but by leaving them out makes the “Evolution of Marketing Automation” topic a bit of a mismatch with the content.

Maybe a good source of comparison is another infographic titled “The History of Marketing“, published by HubSpot about a year ago. HubSpot’s version is also brief (the point of any infographic, sure) but doesn’t overlook key events in marketing history. Another marketing automation vendor, Eloqua, also published an infographic about the same time as HubSpot titled “A History of Disruptive Innovations in Marketing” which focused mostly on the technology advances. Heck, even the simplistic “History of Marketing Channels” infographic from Visual Loop published back in 2010 had more meat.

Maybe I am being too picky. What do you think?

P.S.: for those interested in more information about the evolution of marketing and marketing through history, check out the following links:


Inbound Marketing Analytics 101

December 14, 2011

HubSpot does it again, taking content that is not necessarily new or revolutionary and putting it in a nicely formatted eBook that makes reading it a pleasure.

With “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics“, you get an overview of what to measure and why. Especially useful for small companies and those who are just starting out with their marketing programs and need some help identifying key metrics, the eBook is packed with good advice.

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Analytics eBook

Inbound Marketing Analytics Overview

In the eBook you will see metrics for the following marketing tactics:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Lead Nurturing & Marketing Automation
  • Your Website & Landing Pages
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Search
  • Business Blogging

The benefits of analyzing your marketing performance according to HubSpot are:

1. Identify what’s working.
2. Identify what’s not working.
3. Identify ways to improve.
4. Implement more of the tactics that work to improve marketing performance

Agreed!

Get your free copy of the “An Introduction to Inbound Marketing Analytics” eBook.

Introduction to Marketing Analytics eBook


Marketing Charts and Trends

May 18, 2011

With an impressive collection of charts, HubSpot released The Marketing Data Box. Get it for free either in PDF or PPT format.

There are 65 charts on 54 data slides showing:

  • The benefits and consequences of social media to US Adults
  • Whether Americans are willing or not to pay for online news
  • The average cost per lead for outbound vs. inbound marketing
  • The percentage of mobile users that own smartphones
  • What activity dominates mobile internet time (and it’s not social networking)
  • Ecommerce growth rates
  • What percent of US population search online for health information, and where they are most likely to go
  • The TV programming that will make your ads more likely to be thought of as trustworthy
Marketing Data Box

How Everybody Wins with HubSpot’s Funding

March 10, 2011

As everyone in the marketing industry surely knows by now, HubSpot raised $32 million in additional funding. This means that is time to update my previous charts on marketing automation funding (see below) and the funding timeline, because HubSpot just surpassed Marketo as the highest funded marketing software vendor to date. (Note: yes, I wouldn’t necessarily say HubSpot is a ‘marketing automation’ vendor per se, but they are moving towards that end).

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With the new round of financing, HubSpot now leads the pack in terms of VC funding and takes the total amount raised to date by key marketing players to over $220 million.

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Updated above is the timeline of funding for the key players in the marketing automation space (you may argue HubSpot is not a marketing automation vendor, this is subject for another post).

Everyone Wins

But it also means something else. The money flowing to companies like HubSpot is impressive, and the results of the investment will not only benefit them but also the whole marketing automation and marketing software industry in general. Is almost like a virtuous cycle, where money goes to marketing software vendors, who use it to build better products and educate the market, which then learns about the benefits of such solutions, purchase those solutions, and publicize it themselves and pay those vendors for services.

Industry Impact

Should established marketing automation players be worried about HubSpot’s sudden infusion of capital? After all, now that they have the deep pockets to invest in improving their product, maybe their solution will start looking more like what marketing automation vendors have been selling for some time now. For Eloqua, at least, they say there’s no need to worry since HubSpot is serving a very different market.

Market Segmentation

And here is worth pausing for a moment. We sometimes tend to bundle all of the vendors into one big basket, because a search for marketing software solutions will show more results than you would care to browse and the sales literature of most of them will make you think they all do very similar things. Nothing could be further from the truth, since after taking a few of those solutions out for a spin you will discover there’s much difference under the hood… but that is a topic for another post, since it can take some time to untangle the value propositions and real benefit all the marketing software vendors make.

So HubSpot’s recent capital infusion should be treated as good news by all marketing vendors. It does seem the whole industry is due for a shake-down but until then, the awareness and market education will benefit everyone.


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