The Role of Marketing in the Firm and the C-Suite

Big Marketing Industry Problem #2: How San Diego leaders are addressing the Issue

The American Marketing Association has identified “The Role of Marketing in the Firm and the C-Suite” as key problem #2 in the “Seven Big Problems in the Marketing Industry.” Some marketers struggle to “have a voice” within their organizations while others not only “have a seat at the table” but also have new responsibilities in managing insight development, directing product/service development, focusing on guest/customer experience, and facilitating demand generating activities.

The AMA outlined the following recent changes in business that have impacted marketing:

  • Moving marketing, guest/customer experience and public relations under a “Chief Brand Officer” position
  • A shift in the control of “information” from marketing to the IT or analytics groups
  • Some companies have reorganized to push marketing to the front lines while others are working to centralize marketing

Other changes that have impacted marketing that were identified in the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective include:

  • Marketing playing an increasingly important role in product/service development
  • A movement toward having all marketing functions in-house except in the case of more specialized skills such as design, media buying, research, public relations, video ad creation and digital coding which are often outsourced.

In this article in our Big Marketing Industry Problems Series, the viewpoint of Marketing Leaders articulated during the first annual 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective will be outlined. The 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective will be available for download in late August 2017.




More Marketers Have a “Seat at the Table”

Supporting the view that marketing, guest/customer experience and public relations are combining, the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective found that across industries, the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) or head of marketing is evolving with “a seat at the table” becoming more common. As marketing departments go beyond contributing creative materials and become more sophisticated, offering invaluable insights through data and analytics, other departments are looking to them for direction and decision making.

Despite this, showing the value of marketing is an ongoing challenge. There is an ever-increasing expectation that marketing leaders will generate revenue and maximize ROI with every initiative. The ability to present data-driven campaign results and to make data-driven recommendations based on results is the primary driver of the changing role.

Additionally, there is recognition within organizations that departments cannot work in silos and perform effectively.

  • Marketing departments are collaborating more with other departments, for example:
    • In larger organizations product marketing works with the analytics team and with the content marketing team
    • In smaller organizations, the marketing department works closely with IT and sales

Marketing is also working to:

  • Manage and shepherd the overall brand image
  • Build brand equity and loyalty due to the increasing number of competitors
  • Offer creative problem-solving input and propose ways to create new experiences that require cross-functional team buy-in and participation
  • Understand operations execution as it pertains to impacting the customer or guest experience
  • Contribute to new and existing product development and planning
  • Be informed of corporate initiatives to be able to respond quickly to media when a crisis arises

In some organizations, executive teams are decreasing in size resulting in the individual team member roles becoming more critical.

Data Analytics Falls Under the Marketing Umbrella

Contrary to the AMA view that the control of information is shifting to the IT or analytics groups, San Diego marketing leaders discussed how digital marketing strategies make it relatively easy to offer data analytics under the marketing umbrella.

Use of digital marketing tactics continues to grow and impact marketing department structure, budget, data analytics and ROI.

Rather than a Shift to the Front Lines, Marketing Is Centralized In-House Except for Specialized Needs

Many larger companies split marketing into corporate level and business unit marketing departments. Corporate acts as company’s agency, assisting business units with overarching marketing needs and allowing the business units to focus on more specialized product marketing.

Marketing leaders participating in the 2017 study reported that marketing functions are predominantly in-house but specialist skills are typically outsourced. Design, media buying, research, public relations, video ad creation and digital coding are considered more specialized skills and are typically outsourced. B2B technology organizations tend to have their marketing functions in-house and they are focused on more digital media. B2C organizations that are experience-driven and interactive tend to have their marketing functions in-house and use more traditional media although there is some movement toward digital.

Marketing Increasingly Plays a Role in Product/Service Development

Marketing is increasingly playing an integral role in product/service development thereby actively contributing to some or all of a full-cycle continuous improvement process. Customer insights, feedback and analysis are being fed back into the production cycle, thus driving shifts in product/service development that result in a highly targeted product/service for the market.

Areas in which marketing is impacting product/service development include:

  • Providing product development input
  • Engaging in product development and deployment
  • Marketing communications and consumer feedback via marketing
  • Product/service optimization or new product/service development
  • Increased product/service and target audience alignment

While some marketers are struggling to have their voice heard in their organizations there is clear indication that the role of many marketing leaders is increasing in scope and importance.

2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective and seven big problems in marketing article series

In late August 2017 AMA San Diego will be making the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective available to the marketing community. The study includes inspirational marketing strategy and tactics, trends in marketing, and rich insights from 38 marketing leaders representing 32 San Diego organizations. Q2 Insights is publishing a series of eight articles on the “Seven Big Problems in the Marketing Series” in response to the AMA’s Intellectual Agenda as well as the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.

Q2 Insights, Inc. in partnership with FreshForm Interactive, Inc., designed, implemented and reported on the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.

Marketing is changing. The mindset of your customer is changing. The most successful companies understand and embrace change.

Today’s marketing leader must be more agile, data-focused, and customer-obsessed than ever before. We spoke to CMOs, VPs, and Director-level marketers from a variety of B2B and B2C businesses to learn how this shift in marketing is impacting San Diego.

Our 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective is available now at no cost!

About Kirsty

Kirsty Nunez is the President and Chief Research Strategist at Q2 Insights, Inc., a research and innovation consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans. She can be reached at (760) 230-2950 ext. 1 or