[branded content] The holy grail of every CMO

A scalable marketing organization

Text Adwise | Image Jeroen Botterhuis

But how do you create a well-oiled machine as a marketing organization? In this article Jan Smit, Director of Revenue & Growth at Adwise, outlines three concrete steps
To achieve this: 1. Determine the core competencies. 2. Bring the core competencies to the desired level. 3. Set up structure.

Step 1: Determine the (required) core competencies of your marketing organization
A scalable marketing organization is the opposite of an ad-hoc marketing organization. Everyone knows what is expected in his or her role (role clarity) and how results are achieved (goal and process clarity). In a scalable Marketing Organization tasks and processes are set up that are repeatable in terms of quality and result. With of course room for creativity (essential for any marketing organization).

But where do you start in creating such a structured marketing organization? The first step is to determine the most important core competencies – and how mature (Mature) your team is on these competencies. Core competencies in this context are the competencies that are essential for achieving your marketing and sales results. Your core competencies differ per industry and growth phase in which an organization finds itself. For example, for a mature e-commerce organization, the Data competency is more important than it is for a B2B startup. To determine your core competencies, you can use the 8 competencies of the Adwise Marketing Maturity model (see below). From these 8, determine which 3-5 are essential for creating a scalable execution, and you’ll have a strong foundation to start.

Step 2: Bring the core competencies to the desired level
If your core competencies are known, you determine what your current level is and your desired level is on these competences. You should ideally determine your level on the following 5 levels:

1. Absent. The competence is present at the lowest level (sometimes: totally absent). This level is undesirable for any competence.

2. Executive. The competence is present at the executive level, where it is not yet possible to speak of the desired result. In addition, the quality delivered is also inconsistent.

3. Effective. The competence delivers the desired result within the desired quality standards, but it is not yet consistent and predictable.

4. Predictable. The competence delivers the desired result consistently and predictably, and its quality is manageable for management / board.

5. Excellent. The competence is at the highest level and is leading in the market. In addition, the competency is 100% aligned with sales, product and customer success.

Tip: determine the current and desired level of all 8 competencies from the Marketing Maturity Model. Create quarterly goals (OKRs) to bring the most important (core) competencies to the desired level. It is important to find a balance between in-house and out-house, when it comes to implementation and coordination / management of the competencies. At Adwise, we recommend that you always keep the core competencies in-house – unless they are not yet at the desired level.

Step 3: Set up structure
Once you know the current and desired level of your marketing organization, the next step is to set up structure in your team (s). Structure in activities (Who does what?) And results (What are the goals and KPIs?). This structure starts with a total overview of all marketing KPIs, so that everyone knows what success is. Adwise always advises to visualize a KPI tree, where there is a hierarchy of KPIs and everyone knows which parent KPI their team contributes to. A simple example: the KPI “100 MQLs” contributes to the KPI “40 SQLs”, which in turn contributes to the KPI “500K New Revenue”. Tip: determine not only result KPIs, but also Activities KPIs that lead to the Result KPIs. For example, an Activities KPI “2 Whitepapers / Month”, which contributes to the KPI “100 MQLs”.

In addition to structure in goals and KPIs, you also establish a structure in activities and responsibilities. You do this by determining the work flows for which someone is responsible for each competency. For example: within the competency “Content” you have the workflows “Blog publications” and “Social”. Have you mapped out the workflows? Then you map out the recurring activities per workflow – these are the activities that are performed at least weekly. These are the recurring activities for which you would like to set up checklists and quality standards. Why? Because only then can you make a workflow scalable, so that it becomes less dependent on the person running it.

In conclusion: a mature marketing organization is a journey. Marketing is perhaps the fastest changing area in an organization. What’s important in 2021 may be irrelevant in 2022. That is why it is important to create a solid foundation of truths for your marketing organization. Truths that are the same for all employees. For each CMO, it should be a priority to find at least three truths and translate them into the entire marketing organization. That is the truth of priority (Which competencies and associated KPIs are leading in our team?), The truth of result (When are we successful per competence?) And the truth of quality (How do we execute the competences well?). A good start for this is the use of the Marketing Maturity Model.

Do you expect rapid growth of your marketing organization and do you want more structure and scalability? Adwise helps fast-growing organizations with this, with an “Inhouse Agency Building” consulting services. Check for more information. Or contact Jan Smit via or LinkedIn.

This article was created in collaboration with Adwise


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