Skip to main content
Busy marketing department

The evolving marketing department

Marketing is an ever-changing field. Never more so than right now.  Not only is marketing changing as a faster pace than ever before, but now, the way the marketing departments themselves are structured is changing.

Depending on the CMO, that can be either a real benefit or a challenge.

The future marketing department may not be a department in the traditional sense. No weekly group meetings, no regular briefing of the creative agency and a marketing department that is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago.

That, however, doesn’t mean that marketing is getting any less important. Marketing is simply evolving – and is no longer confined by the office.

We are already seeing it in Silicon Valley. Start-ups are increasingly hiring people from across the globe – inviting them to work from home – instead of asking them to work in the office. And it makes perfect sense. Several studies have already shown that productivity increases 30-40% when working from home. It also makes for a more flexible work/life balance and empowers the employees to take more responsibility of their work. They are now being measured solely on the work they produce and not hours in the office. Some companies even offer unlimited holiday for their employees. As long as you produce what is expected, you are free to work whenever you want, wherever you want and how little or much you want.

It is the evolving workplace.

Challenges and benefits

For the traditional CMO, who may be used to weekly team meetings around the table or hovering around the team to give his/hers input, this may take some getting used to. Briefing or even hiring remote workers also come with its own set of unique challenges. Some might even find it difficult trusting employees to work without direct supervision. Some CMO’s might also feel that his/hers powers lie in the number of employees under their command. For those, the change is going to be hard.

But for the adaptable CMO, the change also comes with big benefits. For one, employees will be happier. They have more freedom, and can work where(ever) they want. This makes for more productive employees and employees who takes more ownership.  Flexible working conditions are quickly becoming the latest employee retention strategy and a key component in attracting Generation Y’s.

Another benefit of a marketing organization spread around the globe is that it can potentially be available around the clock in all times zones – thus reacting quicker and adding more value to the rest of the organization.

Strategy and project management become the key functions in the marketing department
The marketing organization may also become a smaller, core team, focusing on strategy and project management – with many of the more administrative and creative tasks subcontracted to freelancers or virtual employees around the world. This makes the organization more agile, as it can easily be scaled up or down depending on peak periods.

A strategic partner

As strategy and project management become the key functions in the marketing department, marketing will have the opportunity to rise up from the operational, lead-generating image that it may have in many (BtB) organizations and become much more of a strategic partner that takes the lead and look further ahead than before.

The smart CMO do not fear change. Rather he/she embrace changes and uses them as a positive driver to elevate and better the department and the organization.


This article originally appeared on in December 2015.

Facebook Comments


GrumpyCMO is where I air my thoughts on marketing. I'm Bo Ekkelund, and I have been in the marketing field for more than 15 years. The blog is called GrumpyCMO, as I call it as I see it. I see a lot of hype in marketing and I see a lot of very basic mistakes being made in marketing and this is where I tell the world about it. Oh, and I also air my thoughts on marketing strategy, marketing's place in the organization and the changing challenges of CMO's. Some of the articles on this site have also been published on other sites, such as Marketcommunity and LinkedIn.