Centralization has been top of mind for many marketing leaders.
Since 2020, they have begun to evolve their marketing teams toward a centralized organizational structure. In fact, per a 2022 Gartner study, 60% of marketing organizations have centralized some or all of their functions in the quest for operational efficiency. So, its tangible benefits and results mean it’s not a fading trend. But deciding how to centralize is complex and it takes trial and error to find the perfect balance.
The concept, application and popularity of centralized marketing structures have shifted over time. Digital disruptions and changing labor markets over the last decade have amplified the need to centralize. With increased enterprise costs,
growth expectations and squeezed budgets, many CMOs feel pressure to reexamine the functions and responsibilities of their marketing teams, especially in today’s digitally driven world.
First, let’s define the three levels of centralization: centralized, decentralized and hybrid.
In a fully centralized marketing structure, all marketing decisions, functions and resources are controlled by a single, central point within the organization. The fully centralized marketing team is usually located at the corporate or headquarters level. Processes, procedures and resources are standardized throughout the organization.
A decentralized marketing structure distributes the structure, functions and decision-making across various business units, regions or divisions. Each business unit has a degree of autonomy when managing marketing efforts. The level of standardization varies between units as local or regional teams develop unique campaigns.
Hybrid marketing structures blend elements of both centralized and decentralized approaches based on the organization’s unique needs. Usually, specific functions like branding can be centralized, while other functions like product marketing may be decentralized.
How to begin centralizing your organization
Before building and implementing a strategy, it’s important to understand that centralization is not a silver bullet that will solve all problems. When thinking about centralization, a quote from A.D. Chandler, a professor of business history at Harvard Business School and Johns Hopkins University, comes to mind: “Structure should follow strategy.” That means that successful centralization requires analysis as the first step to creating the structure and consistency for how the strategy is applied. It also requires several steps to ensure a smooth transition.
Here are a few to consider:
Assess Current Status
Establish Clear Goals
Once pain points in the process have been assessed and benchmarked, you can leverage these insights to achieve your operational efficiency goals. Your strategy should outline the scope of the centralization, the roles and responsibilities of various teams and individuals, and an implementation timeline. The goals can be as simple as reducing costs, or as specific as building a robust digital marketing SEO strategy for a new service.
Select the Right Vendor
Choosing the right agency is essential to your centralization strategy.
Here are a few benefits of a centralization strategy:
Consistent Messaging and Continuity of Strategy
The best fully integrated agencies offer end-to-end solutions, from strategy development to implementation and monitoring. Specialized teams or individuals are able to focus exclusively on tasks, often resulting in exceptional efficiency. Team specialization is imperative when collaborating with vendors so that organizations can efficiently utilize the service and stay ahead of the curve. As a fully integrated agency, AvreaFoster invests in advanced technologies and software solutions that allow our specialists to be efficient. Due to our repository of knowledge, best practices and tools, we have a proven track record of executing projects efficiently and consistently.
Focus on Core Competencies
In the same Gartner study from 2022, CMOs cited the most difficult skill to develop within their teams was strategic thinking. By offloading specialized functions — such as SEO, website development and digital marketing — to a full-service agency, your team is able to focus on your core business and deliver products and services that align with your mission and customers’ needs.
Transparency of Results
When partnering with a fully integrated agency, you will appreciate the transparent accountability offered with clear service agreements and performance metrics. Agencies are motivated to nurture client relationships and ensure every need is met within the scope of the service agreement.
Efficient Resource Allocation
Start on your path to centralization with AvreaFoster.
When you partner with a fully integrated agency like AvreaFoster, you unlock our expertise and insights and enhance speed to market. Our specialists have the deep knowledge and skills of a complete B2B agency partner through branding, digital marketing, creative, web design and internal communications. As marketing and advertising specialists, our team has insight into the latest industry trends, market research and best practices.
In a rapidly changing marketplace, you must be proactive to outpace your competition. For example, when a healthcare client approached AvreaFoster wanting to centralize under a new brand, each department quickly familiarized itself with the complex business, uncovered insights and delivered results that aligned sales and marketing while increasing qualified sales leads and deals closed. Our collaboration with Imagine360 fueled its centralization efforts, while our specialists moved the needle for sales ops and enablement.
If your organization wants to explore centralized marketing, our team has the experience and insights to help. Connect with the AvreaFoster team today to increase your organization’s operational efficiency.