Let’s start this conversation by addressing the elephant in the room. It would be ideal for all departments within an organization to work in concert towards a single set of goals. Seems logical, yes? There’s no doubt that each department wants the company to be successful.
So, what can possibly go wrong?
Reality? In many companies, each department is a mini-business with its own metrics, and often its own agenda.
Salespeople want a bigger presence to help open more doors. Marketers lobby for a sustained budget to ensure they can maintain presence in the market. And finance wants to manage expenses.
Even functions within a department can be in competition. PR competes with advertising for budget, as does digital marketing and direct mail. Even your “single source,” has different profit centers vying for your budget—an internal struggle you may not overtly see but often feel when it comes to building and implementing your marketing plan.
Enter the elephant.
Let’s stop dancing around the issue of competing budgets and factor this challenge into our marketing planning. If we start by having a good grasp of overall metrics and ensuring each department understands the other, marketing can be the glue that brings it all together.
Stop developing plans in a vacuum. Kick off the marketing process with insightful data from other departments. Build in common metrics that all can commit to measuring. When this happens, finance will be lot more cooperative, and, senior management will have the greater visibility they desire.
When it comes to planning, conflict is inevitable—and that is a good thing. It means key stakeholders are engaged, and it forces each to use facts to support their case.
Exit the elephant.
“Effective organizations seem to be transforming strategy development into an ongoing process of ad hoc, topic-specific leadership conversations and budget-reallocation meetings conducted periodically throughout the year. Some organizations have even instituted a more broadly democratic process that pulls in company-wide participation through social-technology and game-based strategy development.”
Rethinking the role of the strategist, McKinsey Quarterly, Nov, 2014