Change is now normal. So what’s new?

Last year 63% of you underwent some level of restructure to your marketing team or department. More than half of you (53%) expect similar changes in the next 12 months. That means many of you are set to undergo your second period of restructuring in the space of two years.

These figures are taken from the Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan salary survey 2012 which offers an incredible snapshot of an industry bearing up well to ongoing and seismic change.

With more than 3,300 respondents, the survey is by some distance the largest of its kind in the marketing and communications sector. It offers some compelling stories of market behaviour: evidence of the closing gender pay gap between men and women is scarce but identifiable, for example.

Ongoing change, however, emerges as the key story. Perhaps that is because there is no visible end to it on the horizon. There are plenty of factors that account for your imminent potential restructures. Departments are taking new shape not just because of cost-cutting but because managers are recognising the need to incorporate different sets of skills at varying levels of seniority. It is these new demands of a marketing department that mean this constant readjustment will continue. I predict similar insights about marketing being restructured, rebuilt and repurposed to come from our 2013 and 2014 salary surveys. Perhaps the only thing that will normalise and settle is our attitude to such a constantly shifting landscape.

When I wrote my first Leader column as editor of Marketing Week exactly three years ago this week, I picked the theme of change then too. At the time, the ground was moving and certainties were disappearing everywhere we looked. Some of it felt like change for the good. There was a general feeling of optimism as the first black President of the US was sworn in on a platform for change. Elsewhere, though, things were less positive. The credit crunch in the US housing market had started to unravel the global economy at breakneck speed. Lehman Brothers bank had recently collapsed and the fallout was instantly and uncompromisingly vicious.

Three years on and the change has revealed itself to be far more than a market correction.

As I write this, my final column as editor of this title, I’m immensely proud of the job the marketing function has played in the organisations that have defied the lasting economic gloom to keep providing customers with value.

As we debate whether a double-dip recession is on the cards, the ground continues to shift. So, however, does the ability of marketing and communications to evolve, to innovate, and to provide the pumping heart, the lifeblood and the brains of an economy in need.

For me it has been a privilege to serve this audience during three years of such transformation. My next role will see me enter the world of communications, so maybe we’ll meet again. In the meantime, hold in there and good luck.

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