Trend Watch: The Decentralization and Decline of Marketing Departments

FuturesInterviewMe 2.0Personal Branding

Over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve given a lot of thought to the future of marketing in organizations, both small and large. Social media’s influence on marketing is extraordinary and reminds us yet again that we all have to be the marketers of our personal brands, as well as our corporate brands.

We cannot be successful unless we give value to our company and the return we get is a stronger person brand, that is more credible and has a better reputation. Marketing departments are typically broken down into various sub-groups, such as advertising, public relations, product marketing (could be multiple product marketing groups), direct marketing, database marketing and more. Some company’s choose to outsource part or all of their marketing to one or more agency, depending on the company’s size. This is all set to change sooner than you think.

Note: I’ve been in several marketing departments the past eight years and am currently in one now. The feelings and ideas expressed here are forward thinking and do not account for how my colleagues feel at this time.

You, the marketer of the brand

We talk about “brand you” all the time, but when it comes to personal branding it’s also “brand them.” This means, as a brand, you must promote brands that are attached to your brand or ones you want to be associated with. What I’m trying to get at is that you can’t scale and you need to suck experience out of working for clients or company’s in order to be more successful as a brand. A brand has to serve an audience and by helping your client get on the front page of the WSJ or launch their new website, you are forming a stronger portfolio or work (resume, etc), which will help you develop as a brand. Also, as a brand you must promote other brands, such as your manager. In this way, you’re helping people that can, in turn, help your brand succeed!

You will soon be accountable for marketing, whether you are the executive secretary, the accountant, the financial analyst or the IT manager. All bets are off now, since marketing budgets are declining at a rapid pace. You will be charged with marketing on behalf of your company in order to keep your job and your presence in social media will be your path to the job of your dreams. The reason I say this is because your lists (Facebook friends, Twitter followers, blog subscribers, etc) will be part of the reason company’s will hire you! They help you get their brand out there, when advertising budgets are fading away.

Marketing department death watch

I know this title is probably freaking you out if you’re in a marketing department and I’m glad. It’s a rude awakening to find yourself without a job in marketing, where most of the layoffs currently are. Company’s are divesting in marketing, which may allow other, smaller company’s, to come in and build brand. With fewer marketing people and fewer departments or groups, comes the decentralization of marketing as a whole from the corporation. I always say that you have to work twice as hard for the same salary during a recession and it’s true.

Your added job description will be marketing soon. You’ll have to get involved in social media and promote your corporate brand because it’s going to be the only way to market it right now.

Marketers who have no knowledge in social media have negative job security right now unless they are in the top 5-10% of their discipline. Marketing agencies are going to start folding by the hundreds. All of this is going to push business schools to require a marketing class for every student and company’s to online hire people who have marketing skills and experience in social media.

The future

In the year 2020, I’ll wakeup and see every single job description on earth say “Must have proficiency, influence and followers in social media.” Everyone in a company will have to have extremely strong communication skills. The responsibility of marketing won’t be left to a department in the future. It will be up to you! Are you prepared for the future? Have you invested the time in your online brand in order to leverage it for your next position? Well, if you haven’t, be forewarned that social media will soon make or break your entire future.

Get involved now!